Lawrence man sentenced to 38 months for sexual battery; juvenile charge not counted

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Dominic Bartholomew, pictured in January 2020

A judge sentenced a Lawrence man on Thursday to just more than three years in prison for aggravated sexual battery after determining that his juvenile record shouldn’t count against him.

Dominic C. Bartholomew, 25, was charged in January with rape, a level-1 felony. On Aug. 6, however, he pleaded guilty to the less severe level-5 felony.

A woman who was a friend of Bartholomew’s at the time of the incident told a detective with the Eudora Police Department that he had touched her sexually and digitally penetrated her while she was pretending to be asleep, according to court documents. Under Kansas law, any penetration is considered to be a rape.

The woman said she didn’t try to stop Bartholomew because she was afraid, but she did not consent to the touching, according to the documents. She also had a young child in bed with her and feared for the child, too, she said.

Bartholomew had texted the woman later to tell her that he had touched her without permission and that he was sorry for it, according to court records.

The two-hour sentencing hearing on Thursday largely centered on what from Bartholomew’s past should count against him.

Judges are bound by Kansas sentencing statutes, which weigh the severity level of the charge and the defendant’s criminal history “score.” That is based on previous verified criminal convictions, and court staff conducts a presentence investigation to determine what that score is.

Bartholomew was convicted in an arson case in Douglas County in 2017, and he was on probation for it in November 2019, when the incident occurred with the woman. He had been ordered to pay $3,250 in restitution for damage to someone’s truck, court records show.

Carol Cline, Bartholomew’s current attorney, argued to the judge that in the 2017 case, the presentence investigation report had counted an adjudication for a crime that Bartholomew committed at age 12 in Texas. Cline said the Texas law under which Bartholomew was charged did not line up exactly with any Kansas statutes and it should not have counted against him in 2017, but instead it had been counted as a high-level felony.

Douglas County District Court Judge Stacey Donovan ruled that Bartholomew’s adjudication at age 12 should not have counted against him in the arson case, and therefore it shouldn’t count for the sexual battery sentencing.

Had his criminal history score included both prior offenses, Bartholomew would have faced up to five years in prison for the new conviction.

Cline had also filed a motion asking Donovan to grant Bartholomew probation rather than sentence him to prison. She said Bartholomew needed treatment for trauma he’d experienced as a child, and that she believed he would be successful on probation this time.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Cathy Eaton said it was “laughable” to think that a prison sentence hanging over Bartholomew’s head would be a deterrent, as that was already the case when he committed the 2019 offense. She said he’d already had the opportunity to prove to society that probation would benefit him, and he had instead reoffended and escalated his behavior.

Donovan did not grant probation, but she pronounced the sentence of 38 months in prison based on her finding that Bartholomew’s criminal history should include only the 2017 conviction. Bartholomew is eligible for 15% good time credit, and he will face two years of post-release supervision when he is out of prison. He must register as a sex offender for 15 years.

Bartholomew was arrested Jan. 2, and he has remained in custody of the Douglas County Jail on $15,000 total cash or surety bond for the 2019 case and the probation violation in the 2017 case, jail records show.

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