William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Thu, 21 Jul 2005 13:20:12 -0400


July 21, 2005

Sexual predator denied housing in area

By CONNIE PARISH, Times Staff Writer

A notorious sexual predator won't be allowed to live in a transitional
center in southern Leavenworth County unless a special use permit is
granted, a district judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge David King's ruling means the county will be granted a temporary
injunction prohibiting the use of 24130 Golden Road to house convicted
sexual predator Leroy Hendricks. The ruling left the door open for Rick
Whitson, the owner of the property contracted by Social and Rehabilitation
Services, to apply for a special use permit.
County Counselor David Van Parys said the Whitsons could possibly apply for
a special use permit for a detention facility or a post-release facility,
included in new definitions county commissioners recently included in an
amendment to the subdivision regulations.


SRS spokesman Mike Deines said Tuesday that SRS officials are reviewing the
ruling and haven't made a determination about appealing the ruling or
applying for a special use permit.

King's ruling denied the request by Whitson's attorney, Gregory Lee of
Topeka, to lift the temporary restraining order granted by District Judge
Robert Bednar on June 3.
That was two days after county commissioners discovered SRS had moved
Hendricks into the Golden Road facility operated by Community Provisional
Living Inc. of Lawrence. Whitson and his wife, Linda, are affiliated with
that organization.

Hendricks' last conviction, indecent liberties with two 13-year-old boys in
Sedgwick County in 1984, occurred before the state's sexual predator law was
enacted in 1994. Hendricks was the first Kansas prisoner placed in the
sexual predator treatment program at Larned State Hospital.


He gained notoriety as a violent sexual predator when he challenged the
state's 1994 law that allows a sexual predator to be confined in a mental
hospital for treatment after the normal prison release date. The U.S.
Supreme Court upheld Kansas' statute.

King's ruling outlines the facts, noting that a person confined as a
sexually violent predator must have an annual examination of his mental
condition. The SRS secretary submits a report to the district court that
committed the offender, who also may petition the court for release,
regardless of SRS' recommendation.

In the SRS report dated Oct. 26, 2004, the secretary (Janet Schalansky, who
has since resigned), concluded that Hendricks' "mental condition or
personality disorder has not changed sufficiently" for it to be safe for him
to be at large. Hendricks petitioned the court, regardless, and after the
hearing, the Sedgwick County District Court ruled in early December 2004
that he be placed in phase 6 of the predator program, which is transitional


However, SRS didn't have a facility to accommodate someone with his
disabilities. According to court testimony last week, the 70-year-old sexual
predator suffered a stroke and must use a cane or walker. He also has
difficulty using his hands and has been diagnosed with diabetes.

SRS was ordered to have a facility ready for his participation in phase 6 by
April 3. However, his transfer did not occur then. Charlotte Hastings, a
Lawrence resident, and her two daughters are credited at least partially for
SRS' decision not to put Hendricks in a facility in Lawrence operated by the

They circulated petitions against the move and said last week they planned
to take them to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Hastings said they're pushing for
stricter laws that wouldn't allow a facility for sexual predators in any
residential setting.


Whitson subsequently purchased what is known as the Walker House in
Leavenworth County near the Douglas County line. However, under questioning
by Van Parys, SRS officials said the facility was unlicensed when Hendricks
moved in on June 1. A provisional license was granted on June 27, seven days
after the application was submitted.

King's ruling notes that the license was not for a group home, as Whitson's
attorney had argued, but as a "sex predator treatment program transitional
living for handicapped adults" facility. It lists a capacity of three

Van Parys had argued that the defendants hadn't applied for a special use
permit, required for an adult care facility in the zoning regulations. Lee,
the Whitsons' attorney, argued that state law prohibits municipalities from
using zoning regulations to keep group homes out of residential areas.


King points out the statute in question, K.A.S. 12-836, limits a
municipality's authority to regulate land use as it relates to "group
homes." But he concluded the law did not apply in this case. He said it
refers to "persons with a disability" in a group-home setting.

But Hendricks' disabilities, he said, aren't the basis for the request for
relief. Furthermore, he said the evidence was "insufficient to support a
finding that he is disabled."

King said the statute suggests group homes are not proper placements for
sexually violent predators. It notes that offenders posing similar threats
to society are not eligible for group home placement. The judge said the law
is also not applicable to placement of mentally ill persons who pose a
danger to others.


In last week's hearing, King asked whether Hendricks' "mental abnormality"
was considered a mental illness. SRS attorney John House said at the time he
believed the Supreme Court case indicated that it was. King cites the
discussion in the case, which noted similarities between sexually violent
predators and mentally ill persons.

Copyright The Leavenworth Times 2000. All rights reserved.