Friday, October 31, 2014

Right to hearing waived in child sex abuse case

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 3/14/2014

LYNDON — A 38-year-old Melvern man who is facing felony charges in a child sex abuse case waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday.

Ronald L. Hartpence Jr.’s arraignment is scheduled 11 a.m. April 21 in Osage County District Court, 717 Topeka Ave., Lyndon.

LYNDON — A 38-year-old Melvern man who is facing felony charges in a child sex abuse case waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday.

Ronald L. Hartpence Jr.’s arraignment is scheduled 11 a.m. April 21 in Osage County District Court, 717 Topeka Ave., Lyndon.

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 Osage County jail on $300,000 bond.

A Jan. 8 complaint filed by Brandon Jones, Osage County attorney, alleges 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.

Hartpence, clad in an orange jail jumpsuit, stood next to his defense attorney, James Campbell, as he told Magistrate Judge Taylor Wine that he was waiving his right to a preliminary hearing. At a preliminary hearing, the prosecution would have to provide evidence to show there was probable cause the defendant committed the crimes.

Wine then scheduled Hartpence’s arraignment for April 21, at which time the defendant will be expected to enter a plea of either not guilty, guilty or no contest. If Hartpence enters a not guilty plea, a trial date would be set. Jones is prosecuting the case.

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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