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Archive for Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Douglas County prosecutors seek to keep sex offender in prison

February 7, 2012

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Attorneys Tuesday argued in a bench trial about whether a 54-year-old Lawrence man convicted of a molesting a girl in the 1990s was likely to commit another sex offense if he’s released from prison.

Douglas County prosecutors are asking District Judge Michael Malone to designate Christopher J. Saemisch as a sexually violent predator, meaning he must remain at Larned State Hospital for treatment instead of being released on parole.

District Attorney Charles Branson argued psychologists diagnosed Saemisch with pedophilia and exhibitionism, and a doctor testified Saemisch passed a sex offender treatment class without understanding the material, making him likely to re-offend.

Saemisch was convicted in 1999 on one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, a 5-year-old Lawrence girl, who was also a subject in dozens of pornographic videotapes he possessed.

“Harming of children did not stand in the way of his desires,” Branson said.

But defense attorney Elbridge Griffy said Saemisch had worked to overcome his issues while in custody and had made progress at controlling himself.

“There was potential (in prison) for him to act out, and I think this would have come to the surface,” the defense attorney said.

Malone heard evidence over two days in the trial and said he would make a ruling Feb. 15.

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