Saturday, April 19, 2014

Child sex abuse case delayed by snowstorm

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 2/7/2014

LYNDON — The preliminary hearing for a 38-year-old Melvern man who is facing charges in a child sex abuse case has been continued until later this month.

The hearing for Ronald L. Hartpence Jr. was to have taken place Thursday afternoon in Osage County District Court, 717 Topeka Ave., Lyndon, but Brandon Jones, Osage County attorney, asked for a continuance to give him an opportunity to review new information in the case and talk with one of the victims. The preliminary hearing has been rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 19 before Chief Judge Phillip M. Fromme.

LYNDON — The preliminary hearing for a 38-year-old Melvern man who is facing charges in a child sex abuse case has been continued until later this month.

The hearing for Ronald L. Hartpence Jr. was to have taken place Thursday afternoon in Osage County District Court, 717 Topeka Ave., Lyndon, but Brandon Jones, Osage County attorney, asked for a continuance to give him an opportunity to review new information in the case and talk with one of the victims. The preliminary hearing has been rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 19 before Chief Judge Phillip M. Fromme.

Jones planned to interview the victim in the case Wednesday but had been unable to do so when the district court offices were closed because of extreme winter weather conditions, he said.   

Hartpence has been charged with two counts of rape against a child younger than 14 and one count of committing aggravated indecent liberties with a different child, who also was younger than 14, according to court documents. He was arrested Jan. 4 by law enforcement officials with the Osage County Sheriff’s Office. He remains in jail on $300,000 bond.

A Jan. 8 complaint filed by Jones alleges that on two separate occasions between Sept. 1, 2011, and Nov. 27, 2013, Hartpence knowingly had unlawful sexual intercourse with a child younger than 14. During the same time period, the complaint alleges, Hartpence engaged in the lewd fondling or touching of another child younger than 14.

The two rape charges each carry a sentence of life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 25 years. The penalty for aggravated indecent liberties with a child younger than 14 also is life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

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