Prosecutors on Thursday charged Wichita school district safety supervisor Alex Robinson with multiple child sex crimes, stemming from a decade-old case reported to Wichita police more than a year ago.
Robinson, 51, faces two counts of criminal sodomy, three counts of aggravated indecent liberties, one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and two counts of indecent liberties with a child. The charges involve three victims, who ranged in age from 11 to 14 at the time of the alleged crimes, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said the victims were local but would not give their towns of residence.
Robinson, a former Wichita police officer and youth mentor who received presidential recognition for his volunteer work, was taken into custody Wednesday in the 3300 block of North Woodlawn in Wichita, according to a jail booking report. His booking charges included multiple child sex crimes and being a fugitive from justice.
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Bennett would not disclose specifics about the out-of-state warrant that prompted Robinson’s arrest for being a fugitive from justice, including the agency that issued the document or the allegations listed in it.
Robinson is scheduled for a preliminary hearing March 27. He remained in custody Thursday on $100,000 bond.
Reached by e-mail Thursday evening, Robinson’s attorney said the investigation was still in an early phase and emphasized his client’s presumption of innocence.
“Anyone can throw disgusting accusations,” Kurt Kerns wrote. “The sad fact is that these type of accusations are like acid. They burn and injure the moment they make contact, regardless of a good man’s innocence.”
Robinson’s arrest Wednesday was not his first in connection with the case. He was initially questioned and arrested on suspicion of six child sex crimes in January 2013 after a 24-year-old man told police he had been molested by Robinson as a 12-year-old boy.
Robinson was released on bond and has since been on paid leave from the school district, earning $75,790 a year. The subsequent investigation into the 24-year-old man’s allegations stretched for more than a year. The two additional victims named in the criminal complaint surfaced during the investigation.
Authorities have called the case complex.
“Any time any investigation like this is ongoing, we look at every allegation and make every effort to fully investigate that,” Bennett said during a briefing with news media Thursday. “And the amount of time that has passed has given law enforcement that opportunity.”
He added: “While the case was investigated certainly everybody who came forward was interviewed.”
In an e-mail to The Eagle and another news outlet last week, Bennett said local officials were waiting on “an item of investigation” before deciding whether to file charges against Robinson. He would not elaborate on what that item was Thursday following Robinson’s charging hearing.
Robinson spoke little during his first appearance Thursday afternoon, broadcast into Sedgwick County District Court via a video link from the jail. He was dressed in a red jail jumpsuit. He answered with a “yes” when asked by Judge Joe Kisner whether he understood the charges filed.
One of Robinson’s charges – aggravated indecent liberties with a child, involving lewd touching of an 11-year-old – falls under the umbrella of Jessica’s Law, which requires a mandatory life sentence without parole eligibility for 25 years, upon conviction. That crime involving that child allegedly occurred between June 1 and 3, 2012, according to a criminal complaint in the case.
The crimes alleged in the other charges do not qualify for sentencing under Jessica’s Law because they either occurred before the law was passed in Kansas or they involve victims who were older than 13.
The oldest allegations, involving oral or penetrative sex and sexual touching of a boy between September 2000 to September 2002, are being charged under an exception to the five-year statute of limitations allowed at that time for sex crimes because, according to the complaint, evidence indicates the child was younger than 15 at the time of the alleged crimes and may not have realized the sex acts were unlawful or may have been prevented from notifying law enforcement.
The statute of limitations for reporting aggravated criminal sodomy and rape has since been lengthened to life, Bennett said.
Susan Arensman, spokeswoman for the Wichita school district, said Thursday that Robinson “is still on leave, but we are currently reviewing his employment status.”
Normally, a school district employee arrested on suspicion of a felony offense is suspended with pay pending adjudication or resolution of the case, Arensman said. But the district policy on employees who have been arrested says, “In certain circumstances, other employment action may be taken.”
His position with the district has not been filled.
Robinson, who has devoted much of his private life to mentoring at-risk youth, worked 22 years for the Wichita Police Department before beginning work with the school district in 2006. He is a former volunteer for nonprofit mentoring organization Real Men, Real Heroes and the Boys & Girls Club of South Central Kansas.
Contributing: Suzanne Perez Tobias of The Eagle