Archive for Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Basehor man sentenced for sexual misconduct with kids

November 25, 2009

— Five months after his arrest, a 67-year-old Basehor resident convicted of engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior with elementary-age students is off to prison for more than 10 years.

And the grandmother of one of Dorsey Aldridge’s victims says she is satisfied with the sentence handed down Friday in Leavenworth County District Court.

“He got what he got, and I’m very happy,” said the grandmother, who attended Aldridge’s sentencing. “He can’t hurt any more little kids now, and that’s what we were working for.”

Aldridge was sentenced to 120 months in prison for one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and 32 months for each of two counts of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child, to be served concurrently with no chance of parole. After his release from prison, Aldridge would be subject to lifetime supervision.

On Sept. 17, Aldridge accepted a deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded no contest to one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child in exchange for the dismissal of an additional charge of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

Aldridge was arrested in May.

During Friday’s sentencing hearing, Aldridge’s attorney, Christopher Joseph, called Steve Peterson, a doctor specializing in psychiatry with experience in evaluating sex offenders, to testify about Aldridge’s mental and physical health.

Peterson said he concluded from his evaluation Aldridge had a history battling bipolar disorder, including seven or eight hospitalizations as the result of acute mania. People with bipolar disorder often experience states of sexual preoccupation, Peterson said.

“One of the hallmarks of bipolar disorder is a sense of invulnerability, of invincibility… that results in sexual preoccupation,” Peterson said.

Aldridge’s mental state combined with other health issues – diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, possible early dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – put him at risk for lapses in judgment, Peterson said. Peterson also said Aldridge’s tendency toward social isolation, especially after the death of his mother in 2002, could have contributed to Aldridge’s inappropriate conduct.

“By virtue of social isolation, Mr. Aldridge was made more at risk to give in to impulse control problems,” Peterson said.

Joseph asked Peterson about Aldridge’s history with children and prior sexual behavior, to which he responded Aldridge had no previous record of misconduct with children and had stable relationships with his children and grandchildren. Peterson said, on the basis of Aldridge’s mental and physical health, the crimes could be explained.

“Mr. Aldridge was someone who had no prior sex abuse, no prior pedophiliac behavior or preoccupation with pornography,” Peterson said. “He has a low sex drive relative to other men. From a clinical standpoint, Aldridge’s behavior is understandable. I did not find Mr. Aldridge was a sexual predator. It was more opportunistic inappropriate behavior.”

Peterson then went on to say Aldridge’s problems were treatable, and he would benefit from living in a stable, structured facility with group therapy and interaction with adults. These are features Peterson says are not available through the Kansas Department of Corrections. With treatment, the likelihood of a repeat offense was almost nonexistent, Peterson said.

In her counter questioning, prosecuting attorney Cheryl Marquardt asked Peterson if talk therapy was available through the Kansas Department of Corrections, to which he responded that it was, though not as thorough as outside programs.

Marquardt also pointed out no evidence existed to prove Aldridge was experiencing complications related to his diabetes during the time he committed the crimes. Marquardt also noted Aldridge’s crimes would have lasting effects on the victims’ abilities to form healthy relationships, achieve normal attachment with people, feel confident and trust others.

Marquardt recommended prison sentences of 120 months for count one and 32 months for counts three and four. The recommended sentences, she said, were within the terms of the plea agreement, which provided justice to the victims and took into consideration Aldridge’s circumstances.

“Sexual abuse is one of the hardest crimes to overcome… and he should have to answer for the life-long harm he has caused (the victims and their families),” Marquardt said. “These crimes shattered a feeling of safety in the community (of Basehor). These crimes were not perpetrated by a stranger. They were perpetrated by one of their own, someone they trusted.”

Joseph requested leniency from the court, recommending a suspended sentence with probation.

“This is not a situation where you have a predator, where you have a pedophile who needs to be warehoused for the remainder of his natural life,” Joseph said.

After a brief recess, District Judge Gunnar Sundby rejected the defense’s request, saying while Joseph made some good arguments, he could not show that kind of compassion for Aldridge. The crimes, which occurred in May, involved a 6-year-old and 10-year-old girl, authorities said.

Basehor Police investigated the reports and concluded Aldridge approached the girls near his Basehor residence, solicited sexual acts from them and inappropriately touched both of them.

The grandmother who spoke out in support of the sentence said she and her family wanted to thank "the dedicated men" in the Basehor Police Department who helped with the case.

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