A 46-year-old Lawrence man who worked at an agency that helps teenagers faces three sex crime charges, according to Douglas County District Court records.
Authorities said the man worked at The Shelter Inc., which has an office at 105 W. 11th St., and also operates emergency residential care for teenagers who are often placed through the court system. Staff members also assist law enforcement with juvenile cases.
Lawrence police have said they were made aware of the allegations only on Dec. 29 and were working with Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services workers on the investigation. Police arrested the man late Dec. 29, and he posted $25,000 bond Jan. 4.
He was given notice to appear in court Thursday afternoon, and prosecutors with the Kansas Attorney General’s Office have filed charges of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, criminal sodomy and indecent liberties with a child for alleged acts that began in October, according to court records. The charges list the victims between the ages of 14 and 16.
Douglas County prosecutors asked the attorney general’s office to handle the case, and an outside judge is presiding as well, authorities said.
“Given the suspect worked for an agency we work closely with, we felt it necessary to request the attorney general’s office assume prosecution of the matter to remove any appearance of conflict of interest,” Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said Thursday.
“We of course take the kids’ safety very seriously,” said Judy Culley, The Shelter’s executive director. “Any allegation of any kind is always of great concern to us. We are cooperating with authorities and waiting to learn more about it as this moves forward.”
Culley said the man was suspended from the organization while the criminal case and investigation were pending.
His next court date is Feb. 14.
The Journal-World generally does not identify sex crime suspects unless they are convicted.