July 11, 2012

Judge denies lower bond for former Sedgwick County Jail deputy charged with sex crimes

A judge on Wednesday denied a lower bond for a former Sedgwick County Jail deputy charged with multiple sex crimes against inmates.

A judge on Wednesday denied a lower bond for a former Sedgwick County Jail deputy charged with multiple sex crimes against inmates.

The decision by District Court Judge Jeff Syrios to retain a $500,000 bond for David E. Kendall came after Kendall’s attorney, Chris O’Hara, challenged the credibility of the alleged victims. O’Hara said the alleged victims have been charged with or convicted of serious crimes themselves and could be motivated by potential monetary gain.

The charges against Kendall involve six alleged victims and incidents that span more than a two-month period, court records show. Kendall, 21, faces 12 charges — 11 of them relating to alleged sex crimes. The crimes reportedly occurred between April and June.

Kendall had been placed on unpaid suspension pending the outcome of the criminal case but through his attorney submitted his resignation, which was accepted, Sheriff Robert Hinshaw said Wednesday.

In his ruling, Syrios noted that considerations in setting any bond are assuring the appearance of the accused and protecting the public. The judge cited the number of alleged victims and the nature of the charges and said that Kendall’s position was unique, that he had law enforcement training and that the alleged victims didn’t have the freedom to protect themselves.

O’Hara had argued that $500,000 was an unreasonably high bond, that it should be $100,000. He said Kendall had no criminal history, has local family ties and is not at risk of fleeing. He said Kendall was compliant when he was previously released on a lower bond, and that “if he was going to run, he was probably going to run at that time.” O’Hara said Kendall posed “no danger to the community.”

In arguing that the bond remain at $500,000, Assistant District Attorney Donna Longsworth said that Kendall posed a danger to community, that he allegedly used his position in the jail to find victims and that he had the ability to get personal information and knew a lot about the alleged victims.

Arguments over the credibility of the alleged victims will be taken up at later hearings, and now isn’t the appropriate time, Longsworth said.

O’Hara repeatedly attacked the credibility of the accusers, saying they are inmates in “desperate situations” and that some of them have been accused or convicted of serious crimes including kidnapping and rape.

O’Hara contended there is conflicting evidence in one of charges, aggravated criminal sodomy, where allegations made by one of the alleged victims may not be true “in the way that he framed them.” The alleged victim reportedly told others that the case was “going to be his get-out-of-jail-free card,” and any acts, “if in fact they were done,” may have been consensual, O’Hara said.

According to witnesses, some of the allegations stem from monetary motivation, O’Hara said, adding that inmates had been communicating about contacting attorneys.

Later, Kurt Kerns, one of the attorneys representing inmates who say they were victims, said of O’Hara’s comments: “It’s clear he’s simply attacking the victims.

“Until he (O’Hara) can come up with an explanation of how his client’s semen and DNA found its way” onto the inmates, Kerns said, “I really can’t give his client’s claims much credence.

“There’s no such thing as consensual sex between a guard and an inmate because there’s implicit coercion. The law prohibits it for good reason.”

Kendall’s preliminary hearing has been continued to Aug. 2. He is being held in a jail outside Sedgwick County.

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