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Former Wichita police officer sentenced to life for child sex crimes

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, April 11, 2013, at 12 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, April 11, 2013, at 6:07 p.m.

Former Wichita police officer Joseph McGill was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for sexually abusing a 1-year-old child.

He was ordered to serve 10 years in prison for sexually abusing a 3-month-old child but will be allowed to serve the sentences concurrently.

The first case carried a life prison term because it occurred in 2011, after Kansas’ version of Jessica’s Law took effect on July 1, 2006. That law sets a life prison term for those who sexually abuse children under the age of 14. The first crime occurred in 2005.

McGill, 28, will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years.

McGill pleaded guilty in an unrelated case to sexual battery charges that arose from two incidents that occurred while he was working as a police officer in November 2010 and February 2011. McGill, who had been with the Wichita Police Department for about three years, resigned after those charges were filed and was later placed on probation.

Before the sentence on the new charges was imposed, defense lawyer Mark Schoenhofer asked District Judge Jeff Syrios to depart from established sentencing guidelines and impose a shorter prison term. He said the victims had no memories of the crimes and suffered no physical injuries. He also said that McGill likely will be targeted by other prison inmates because he’s an ex-cop.

“The fact that the crime involves children makes it even more likely,” he said. “I ask the court to take that into consideration.”

Assistant Sedgwick County District Attorney Mandee Schauf urged Syrios to impose the life sentence.

“The fact that he may be victimized in prison – that’s up to the Kansas Department of Corrections,” she said. “At end of the day the court has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ There are four people in this community who have been victimized by this defendant.”

McGill spoke briefly at the hearing. “All I have to say is that I am truly sorry for the trouble I’ve caused my family, my friends, my loved ones,” he said. “That is it. Thank you.”

Syrios found McGill guilty in January after a bench trial that was based on a stipulation of facts that came out at McGill’s preliminary hearing. McGill’s wife testified at that hearing that her husband confided to her after a therapy session that he had committed sexual acts on the two children.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6488 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com.

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