DA wants one-time Lawrence rape suspect sent to prison for probation violations
A man who was tried for rape in Lawrence and eventually pleaded to a far less severe nonsexual crime has violated his probation.
The Douglas County District Attorney’s Office wants him sent to prison, but his attorney hopes he can stay out after showing proof he’s completed substance abuse treatment.
Douglas County District Court Judge Amy Hanley is scheduled to decide Wednesday where Jared L. Wheeler, 24, will go next.
Wheeler — along with his then-roommate at Haskell Indian Nations University — was charged with raping a female Haskell student in the dorm room where the two men lived in 2014.
Wheeler’s trial ended with a hung jury in June 2016. He later pleaded no contest to a single felony count of aggravated battery and, in January 2017, was sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years on probation.
At Wheeler’s sentencing, the victim said she was still plagued by nightmares but moving forward. She and her parents called the conviction too light.
“He should have gotten more than what was given to him,” she said, according to previous Journal-World coverage.
Wheeler called the case a “wake-up call” and told the judge it had motivated him to take “positive steps.”
Though he was granted probation, his underlying sentence was 13 months in prison followed by a year of post-release supervision, according to the judgment filed in court.
After serving his jail time, Wheeler moved and had his probation transferred to Oklahoma, where he violated it in a number of ways, he admitted during a hearing last week in Douglas County District Court.
In 2017 and 2018, Wheeler was arrested and charged in three separate cases in Oklahoma, an affidavit filed by his probation supervisor here says. Alleged crimes included assault and battery on police on more than one occasion, peeping tom, public intoxication, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Wheeler admitted to Oklahoma authorities to using alcohol, marijuana and methamphetamine, according to the affidavit. He also failed to provide documentation that he completed a substance abuse evaluation and 90-day inpatient rehab program as ordered.
Last week, prosecutor C.J. Rieg said the Douglas County DA’s office wants Wheeler’s original prison sentence imposed. She emphasized that Wheeler was found in violation of his probation for committing new crimes, and that he’s had ample time already to provide proof of any treatment.
The attorney appointed to represent Wheeler on the local probation violation proceedings, Charles Whitman, said Wheeler participated in a treatment program with the Comanche Nation in Oklahoma but needed more time to get reports to the court.
Whitman said Wheeler’s problems and violations were “largely based on his substance consumption.”
In the 2014 rape case, Wheeler’s roommate and co-defendant Galen Satoe had two trials, but jurors failed to agree on a verdict in both. The DA’s office decided not to pursue a third trial.
Defense attorneys for both men cast the encounter as a consensual threesome at their trials.