Lawrence fast-food restaurant manager takes plea deal in sex crime case involving 15-year-old employee

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Stephen Tyler Wampler

A Lawrence fast-food restaurant manager pleaded guilty on Friday to two sex crimes involving a 15-year-old employee of the restaurant where the two worked.

As part of a plea agreement, Stephen Tyler Wampler, 28, pleaded guilty in Douglas County District Court to two felony counts of attempted aggravated indecent liberties with a child and one felony count of providing alcohol to a minor. Wampler was originally charged with two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, which each would have carried a minimum sentence of 55 months in prison if he were convicted, but the plea deal reduced those counts to attempted aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

The minimum sentence for each count of attempted aggravated indecent liberties is 31 months in prison, according to Kansas sentencing guidelines, and the conviction for furnishing alcohol to a minor could result in five to seven months.

Deputy District Attorney Joshua Seiden said that Wampler had agreed to serve any time he is sentenced to in prison, and that the state would recommend 38 months for each of the child sex crime counts for a total of 76 months, or 6.3 years. However, Wampler’s defense attorney, Dakota Loomis, could still argue for those sentences to run concurrently, which would be a total of 3.1 years. Seiden said the state believed that Wampler had a minimal criminal history that would affect his sentence.

Loomis said that in addition to prison time, Wampler would also be required to register as a sex offender for life.

Wampler’s case stems from multiple incidents involving a 15-year-old girl in July of 2022. As the Journal-World reported, Wampler was the girl’s supervisor at a Lawrence Burger King. The girl told police that the two had sex on two occasions and that he provided her with alcohol and marijuana. She reported the sexual contact after she no longer wanted a relationship with Wampler but he continued to sexually harass her at work, according to an affidavit in support of Wampler’s arrest.

According to the affidavit, during the girl’s police interview, the officer conducting the interview recorded a call between the girl and Wampler, unbeknown to Wampler, in which he allegedly admitted to having sex with the girl and providing her with marijuana and alcohol. On the call, Wampler reportedly told the girl he had already told his friends and family what to say if police ever questioned them about his relationship with her.

Judge Sally Pokorny accepted Wampler’s guilty plea and scheduled his sentencing for Dec. 6. Wampler has been free on a $75,000 surety bond since November 2022.