Lawrence man convicted of molesting 11-year-old girl

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Robert W. Copas

A Lawrence man has been convicted of molesting an 11-year-old girl.

Robert W. Copas, 36, of Lawrence, pleaded no contest Monday in Douglas County District Court to a single count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, a felony. Prior to the plea deal, Copas had been charged with a more severe level of the same crime.

Under sentencing guidelines, Copas will go to prison after his sentencing on April 15. His appointed attorney Jim Rumsey said that he and prosecutors would recommend a sentence of 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 years.

Prosecutor Alice Walker said the conviction requires lifetime post-release supervision and registration as a sex offender.

Over Walker’s objection, Judge James McCabria allowed Copas to remain free on bond until his sentencing hearing. Rumsey said Copas is currently employed and has appeared for numerous court hearings in his case since being released on $10,000 bond close to a year ago.

The crime occurred in July 2017, and Copas was arrested and charged later that month.

The victim reported the molestation to relatives and Lawrence police interviewed her the same day, according to an affidavit prepared by one of the officers.

The girl said that Copas had touched her inappropriately outside her clothes, continuing after she told him to stop, according to the affidavit. She told police that afterward Copas told her, “Please don’t tell, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” but that she did tell because it was “the right thing” to do.

According to the affidavit, Copas confessed to police that he had touched the girl inappropriately and then apologized to her.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd