Battle continues over sexual predator’s housing
The notorious sexual predator Leroy Hendricks has been forced out of Leavenworth County.
Early last week, Leavenworth County counselor David Van Parys said he had been told Hendricks had been returned to Osawatomie State Hospital.
And Leavenworth County commissioners want to make sure Hendricks stays out of the county.
A hearing has been set in for 10 a.m. July 12 in Leavenworth County District Court to determine whether county officials can prevent a house on Golden Road from being used as a nursing home or a detention center without a special-use permit.
On June 1, the state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services moved Hendricks, a wheelchair-bound 70-year-old sexual predator, into a home at 24130 Golden Road. The house is about five miles west of Linwood, just south of Kansas Highway 32.
Lawrence residents Rick and Linda Whitson had purchased the property on May 27, planning to keep Hendricks, and, possibly in the future, several other men like him, under 24-hour surveillance. The state was going to pay $278,000 to house and guard Hendricks for a 15-month period.
Earlier this month, Leavenworth County Commissioner Dean Oroke expressed anger about how Hendricks was moved into the county without the county's prior knowledge.
"I don't feel that Leavenworth County should become the dumping ground of SRS, and I'm not happy that we, the county, were not informed of it," Oroke said.
Hendricks, who is working his way through the state's sexual predator program, completed the first five stages of treatment at Larned State Hospital, where he lived from 1994 until this spring, when he was moved to Osawatomie State Hospital in preparation for a transfer to a private detention center, such as what the Whitsons attempted to establish at the Golden Road house. This would have been the sixth stage of Hendricks' treatment in the sexual predator treatment program. This is a transition release phase where he would have started to have contact with the community.
Hendricks has been widely quoted as saying the only way he would stop molesting children would be if he died.
In April, SRS had announced plans to move Hendricks into a home in Lawrence where he would be under constant surveillance, but citizens protested, garnering about 4,500 signatures on a petition.
On June 1, SRS officials informed Leavenworth County Sheriff Dave Zoellner that Hendricks would be moved into southern Leavenworth County that day.
County commissioners were outraged SRS had moved the state's most notorious sexual predator into the county. They directed Van Parys to seek a temporary injunction to prevent the house on Golden Road from being used as a nursing home or a detention facility. He was successful.
The July court hearing is to determine whether the injunction should become permanent. If the judge issues a permanent injunction, a special-use permit would be required to house Hendricks on Golden Road.
The three-member Leavenworth County Commission decides whether to issue such permits.