Archive for Thursday, August 25, 2005

Appeal is filed in sex-predator case

August 25, 2005

A judge ruled last week that sexual predator LeRoy Hendricks is gone from Leavenworth County for good.

However, the attorney for Rick Whitson, who in June housed Hendricks in a detention facility in southern Leavenworth County, has filed an appeal of the judge's ruling.

"It was filed yesterday or the day before," Greg Lee said Friday.

Lee represents Lawrence resident Richard Whitson, director of Community Provisional Living Inc.

The appeal followed last Wednesday's ruling by Leavenworth County District Judge David King, who granted a permanent injunction, preventing a southern Leavenworth County home being used as a treatment facility for violent sexual predators.

The house at 24130 Golden Road is about five miles west of Linwood, just south of Kansas Highway 32.

Leavenworth County Commissioner Dean Oroke said he was pleased with King's decision but wasn't surprised an appeal had been filed.

"We know we have won the battle and it's going to be long and drawn out," Oroke said. "But still we've won the first step of it anyway."

Restraining order

In June, Hendricks stayed in the house, under supervision, for four or five days beginning June 1.

Hendricks has a 50-year history of molesting children.

His most recent conviction was in 1984 when Hendricks was convicted of taking indecent liberties with two 13-year-old boys. In 1994 he became the first person committed under the Kansas sexual-predator treatment program, which allows high-risk sex offenders to be held against their will for treatment even after they've finished serving time in prison. He recently completed a 10-year stay at Larned State Hospital.

In June, when he learned Hendricks had been placed in the house, Oroke said it appeared that owners of the home, Richard and Linda Whitson, Lawrence, had violated several county zoning ordinances, including:

  • The owners were operating a commercial property in a residential neighborhood. Oroke said it was a commercial venture based on the fact that the state would pay $278,000 to house and guard Hendricks for a 15-month period.
  • The owners of the home had indicated there would possibly be two or three more people like Hendricks living there, which would qualify the property as a group home, which would require a special-use permit.
  • SRS indicated the home had security locks on the doors, which would keep the residents from leaving, in which case the home could be looked upon as being a detention facility.

On June 3, Leavenworth County officials gained a temporary restraining order to prevent Hendricks from living there or having the house used as a detention facility or nursing center. And on July 19, King granted a temporary injunction.

King's ruling last week was what Leavenworth County counselor Dave VanParys had hoped to achieve.

"That was the primary goal of the county commissioners throughout this, to enjoin it until such time as they could obtain a special-use permit, which is what we thought he should do," said VanParys.

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