Accused of raping a woman while she slept and spending nearly 5 years in jail, Lawrence man pleads no contest to lesser felony

photo by: Mugshot courtesy of the Kansas Sex Offender Registry

Perry Lynn Oatis is pictured with the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center.

A Lawrence man who was accused of rape was set to go to trial this week after nearly five years in custody at the Douglas County Jail, but before the prosecution could present its evidence to a jury, a plea deal was struck and the man was released on bond.

Perry Lynn Oatis, 58, was accused in May of 2019 of raping a 34-year-old woman who was unconscious or physically powerless. He was charged with one felony count of rape and faced a minimum of 12 years in prison if he had been convicted of the charge. He has been held on a $100,000 bond since his arrest. He was scheduled to go to trial this week.

According to the affidavit in support of Oatis’ arrest, the woman had let Oatis stay at her home because he was homeless. One night, according to the affidavit, the woman took a sleeping pill and fell asleep on her couch, and a friend of hers walked in the room and saw Oatis having sex with the snoring woman, as the Journal-World reported.

When police interviewed Oatis after the incident, he told them he had removed the woman’s clothing and had sex with her, according to the affidavit. He told police that she didn’t verbally consent but that he believed she was consenting because she had kissed him back.

An arrest affidavit is a sworn document detailing the probable cause behind a person’s arrest. Allegations in affidavits have not been proved in court.

Oatis had additional charges pending that were resolved by the plea. He was charged with misdemeanor sexual battery in connection with an incident in August 2018 and domestic battery in April 2019.

On Feb. 13, his cases were resolved when he pleaded no contest to one low-level felony count of aggravated battery and one misdemeanor count of sexual battery, according to court records. The agreement said that Oatis has served his time in jail on the charges, which included 12 months for the sexual battery charge and ranged between 11 and 34 months for the aggravated battery charge. In addition to his time served, Oatis will be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

His remaining domestic battery charge was dismissed as part of the agreement. He had been appointed five attorneys throughout the case, the last being attorney Angela Keck.

He was released shortly after he entered his plea when his bond was converted from a cash or surety bond to an own-recognizance bond, meaning he was not required to pay any money to be released from jail but could be charged that amount if he fails to appear in court. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 29.


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