Archive for Thursday, March 15, 2001

Mayor’s trial starts Monday

March 15, 2001

Basehor mayor John Pfannenstiel will have his first day in court Monday, March 19 at the Leavenworth County District Courthouse.

The trial is expected to last four days and will conclude in time for the mayoral election on April 3.

Pfannenstiel has said in the past he expects an acquittal and on Tuesday he stood by that statement.

"I am fully confident of an acquittal in my trial," Pfannenstiel said. "I am eager as we are getting closer to the trial to get it underway and get it resolved.

I fully understand the concern of citizens who don't know the details of my trial that I know and I am anxious to put there minds at ease as well," Pfannenstiel said.

Pfannenstiel is charged with three felony counts of having sexual relations with an inmate at the Lansing State Correctional Facility, where he had worked as a guard when the crimes allegedly occurred.

Pfannenstiel is also charged with one felony count of taking contraband into a state correctional facility without authorization.

Despite being asked to resign by two Basehor City Council members, Pfannenstiel has received support from other members on the council.

City Council President Chris Garcia has been unwavering in his support of Pfannenstiel since the charges were brought against the mayor.

"I have stated that during two motions by the City Council, that John Pfannenstiel is innocent until proven guilty," Garcia said. "I believe anyone, whether it's someone on the City Council or any person out in the community, is innocent until proven guilty."

"Now, my own gut feeling is that it is not in his nature to do something like this," Garcia added. "He has worked over there for 15 years and then one day he decides he is going to use this power over prisoners, I don't believe it."

At a preliminary hearing on Oct. 5, three inmates from the Lansing State Correctional Facility testified they had sexual encounters with Pfannenstiel.

Two of the inmates tesified that they had repeated encounters with the former sergeant, and also said they feared what might happen to them if they came forward.

After the hearing, Pfannenstiel was arraigned on the charges. He pleaded not guilty on all charges.

The original trial date was scheduled for Jan. 29, but it was continued to March 19 at the prosecutor's request.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.