Lawrence man pleads guilty to molesting 7-year-old, faces life in prison

photo by: Mike Yoder

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th St.

A 68-year-old Lawrence man has been convicted of molesting a 7-year-old child and faces life in prison.

This week in Douglas County District Court, Clinton Laing pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, according to Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson.

For the conviction, which is an off-grid level felony, Laing will face life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years, Wright Kunard said.

Laing’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 7 before Judge James McCabria.

Laing remains jailed on $500,000 bond.

Laing was arrested in April and initially charged with one count of rape, two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and one count of aggravated criminal sodomy, all off-grid felonies. The remaining three charges were dismissed with his plea agreement.

The crimes occurred in 2015 and 2016, and the victim was 7 when the abuse began, according to the charges.

McCabria previously denied the Journal-World’s request for the affidavit prepared by police to demonstrate probable cause for Laing’s arrest, saying that releasing that information would jeopardize the mental or emotional well-being of a victim.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has denied the Journal-World’s request for Laing’s jail booking photo.

At his first appearance in court, via video from the jail on April 2, Laing told Judge James George that he did not want a lower bond, the Journal-World previously reported.

“When I realized everything that was happening in my life I did try to take my own life,” he said. “… I’d really rather not leave the jail.”

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd