Lawrence man gets 10 years in prison for sexually abusing mentally disabled girl

photo by: Sara Shepherd

Steven L. Capps appears in Douglas County District Court during his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.

Story updated at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday

A Lawrence man who molested a girl with mental disabilities was sentenced on Wednesday to 122 months, or just over 10 years, in prison.

Steven L. Capps, 39, previously pleaded no contest and was convicted of two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, both felonies. The girl was 14 when the incident occurred.

Capps must remain supervised for life after he’s released from prison, and must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny ordered.

Calling Capps’ crime “absolutely reprehensible,” prosecutor Mark Simpson said that Capps had access to the vulnerable victim and used it to sexually abuse her.

Simpson said he thought the sentence was appropriate and that the girl’s family supported the plea agreement. He said it struck a balance, punishing Capps while avoiding the girl having to take the stand to testify about what he did to her.

Prior to the plea deal, Capps was initially charged with two counts of rape and one count of aggravated criminal sodomy.

He was arrested in July of this year after another adult caught him in a room with the girl and immediately called police.

The girl used anatomical diagrams to show police what Capps did to her and “indicated she was not a willing participant,” Lawrence Police Department investigators wrote in an affidavit supporting Capps’ arrest, which the Journal-World previously reported. Although the girl “had difficulty communicating due to developmental disabilities,” she was able to clarify and correct information while talking to police.

Other than a single nonperson misdemeanor, Capps has no other criminal history, attorneys said Wednesday.

Capps did not make a statement in court.

His appointed attorney, Hatem Chahine, said on his behalf, “my client has accepted this, and he knows what his punishment is.”

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd