Man sentenced to 5 years in prison for sexual abuse of girls

photo by: Mackenzie Clark

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th St., is pictured on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

Family members of two girls who were sexually abused said during the abuser’s sentencing hearing Monday that they hoped he would suffer as much as his victims have.

Brian M. Kennedy, 45, pleaded no contest and was convicted of one count of aggravated battery, a level-4 felony, and attempted aggravated battery, a level-6 felony, during a hearing Aug. 17 in Douglas County District Court. He was initially charged with seven counts of aggravated indecent liberties with children younger than 14, which could have been punishable by a life sentence.

On Monday, Douglas County District Court Judge Judge Stacey Donovan sentenced Kennedy to 62 months in prison, or just more than five years, with three years of post-release supervision. He must also seek sex-offender treatment, and he must register as a sex offender for 15 years.

Assistant District Attorney Cathy Eaton said during Kennedy’s plea hearing that he had inappropriately touched two young victims between 2013 and 2014 at his home in Lawrence. Both girls were younger than 10 at the time, according to court documents.

The girls’ family members spoke emotionally about what their daughters had experienced as a result of the molestation.

One of the girl’s mothers said that she felt like a failure as a parent because she couldn’t protect her daughter from what Kennedy had done, and her daughter has to live with what happened forever. The girl walks in fear, and she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, her mother said. But “she will no longer be a victim; she will be a survivor” and she’ll do great things, her mother said.

The mother of the second girl said her daughter now has nightmares, and she’s scared of what her future holds.

“You took everything away from her,” the mother said.

The second girl’s father said that what happened to the girls was “not just a one-time thing. This is going to be a lifetime battle.”

Another relative said Kennedy had betrayed the girls in unimaginable ways, and undermined their confidence and self-worth. She said she hoped he suffered the same depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation that the girls now suffer.

“You will be out of prison in a matter of time,” the woman said. “The girls will still be in the prison you have put them in, hoping and praying to work their way out.”

Kennedy spoke briefly at the hearing. He said he wanted the girls to know he’s not mad at them and he never will be, and if he ever saw them, he would go the other direction.

“I don’t want them to think I’m mad because I’m not,” he said. “That’s all I have to say.”

Donovan, in sentencing Kennedy to the maximum sentence for the charges, told him that she hoped he would use his time in prison to think about the impact he’s had.

“I hope that when you are released that you go down a different path, and I certainly hope never to see you before the court again,” she said.

Before he was charged in this case, Kennedy had moved back to Omaha, Neb., he said at the sentencing hearing. He has remained in the custody of the Douglas County Jail on $50,000 cash or surety bond since his arrest in May 2019, jail records show.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office declined to release Kennedy’s booking photo to the Journal-World when he was charged and after he pleaded no contest last month. The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a third request for the booking photo after Monday’s hearing.

Online jail records describe him as a 6-foot-tall white man with brown hair and blue eyes. His photo will be part of his sex-offender registration.

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Aug. 17, 2020: Man pleads no contest to lesser charges in Lawrence child sex crime case

May 8, 2019: Man charged with yearslong molestation of 2 young children in Douglas County