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Judge defers ruling on child sex charges against former Wichita police officer

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, August 17, 2012, at 1:56 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, April 11, 2013, at 6:07 p.m.

A Sedgwick County District Court judge will decide in about a month whether a criminal case against a former Wichita police officer should be dismissed or proceed to trial.

Joseph McGill is charged with two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child for sex crimes he told multiple people he committed against his two daughters when each was a year old or less.

But his attorney, Mark Schoenhofer, argued that the case should be thrown out because it is based on nothing more than confessions McGill made to his wife and a psychologist he was seeing because of a prior criminal conviction.

Kansas law requires that criminal charges be based on more than a confession, Schoenhofer told Judge Jeff Syrios, to protect people from being convicted for things they may have merely imagined.

“Where is the evidence?” Schoenhofer asked.

Assistant Sedgwick County District Attorney Mandee Schauf argued that McGill’s multiple confessions – to his wife, to psychologist Brad Mills and in a detailed questionnaire he partially filled out in preparation for a polygraph ordered as part of his probation from a prior conviction – constitute a sufficient body of evidence to substantiate the charges.

She also urged Syrios to take into account that McGill’s two daughters are the right age to have been the age he said they were when the crimes were allegedly committed.

Syrios held off on making a ruling, saying he wanted to review documents submitted and testimony given Friday by Mills and Donald Williams, whose questionnaire McGill partially filled out before declining to take the polygraph back in May.

Syrios said he will rule on whether the case should be dismissed or continue to trial by Sept. 21.

McGill, now 28, pleaded guilty in January to sexual battery while on duty as a police officer and was sentenced to three years’ probation. Those charges stemmed from separate incidents in November 2010 and the following February.

McGill worked for the Wichita Police Department for about three years. The department suspended him without pay, and he resigned after the charges were filed.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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