One witness, a 13-year-old boy with a slight voice, testified that he knew Alex Robinson through the Real Men, Real Heroes youth-mentoring program.
Robinson groped him in a shower stall at a church camp, he said.
Another witness, now 17, said that Robinson – a former Wichita school district safety supervisor and before that a Wichita police sergeant – was a family friend. Robinson put his hands down the boy’s pants when he was about 14, he said.
A third witness, now 26, testified that he met Robinson through the Boys & Girls Clubs when he was 11 or 12. He said Robinson, then a Wichita cop, sodomized him at Robinson’s southeast Wichita apartment and molested him at a Wichita recreation center.
After hearing their testimony Wednesday, Judge David Kaufman said there was enough evidence to send Robinson to trial on eight counts of sex crimes against children. The trial is set for July 6.
Robinson had been charged with 10 counts, including alleged crimes against a fourth victim, but no evidence involving the fourth person was submitted Wednesday, so two of the counts have been dismissed for now.
Robinson’s defense attorney, Steve Mank, asked that not-guilty pleas be entered for his client, who faces charges of aggravated criminal sodomy, aggravated indecent liberties with a child and indecent liberties with a child.
The alleged crimes occurred from around 2000, when Robinson was a police officer, until 2012, when he worked for the school district in a safety role.
Robinson, the 52-year-old who was once given a prestigious award for service to youths, looked straight at the three witnesses during the hour-long preliminary hearing. He appeared to show no emotion.
He remains free on bond.
Witness: Trust is broken
Five of the eight remaining charges involve a man who is now 26. He testified that he met Robinson when he was 11 or 12.
“He was introduced to me and my brother through the director of the Boys & Girls Club,” he testified.
He knew at the time that Robinson was a police officer, which meant that he was supposed to be able to trust him, he said.
Years later, he decided it was time to tell police about what Robinson had done to him, he testified under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Justin Edwards, who is in charge of the office’s sex crimes cases.
The man testified that Robinson sexually abused him for a few months, but that when he got into trouble and was put into group homes, “I was out of reach.”
Most of the abuse occurred at Robinson’s apartment and once at the Atwater recreation center, near 19th and Grove, he said.
He recalled an incident where Robinson picked him up at his home, telling his mother they were going to a game or event. Instead, he said, Robinson took him to his apartment and put “pornos” of men and women on the television.
“He’d touch me,” he said, on his private area.
Other times, the man testified, Robinson sodomized him.
One night, Robinson took him to the Atwater recreation center. It was after hours, dark inside, and no one was there.
Robinson laid down a towel and told him, “I’m going to make it quick,” and proceeded to molest him, he said. Later, Robinson “stopped by McDonald’s and then he took me home. … I just went to my room” – and didn’t tell anyone.
When Edwards asked why he didn’t tell anyone for years, he responded, “Because I was the black sheep of my family.” He didn’t feel comfortable telling his mother, wondering whether she would believe him.
When Edwards asked whether he knew it was a crime when he was abused, the man responded, “I really didn’t know what to think of it.” All he knew was that Robinson “did so much for the youth” and that “he was somebody that everybody praises.”
In 2007, Robinson received the President’s Volunteer Service Award after being credited with more than 17,000 hours with the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas. He also served on the board of directors for Real Men, Real Heroes, but was asked to resign in the wake of the investigation.
‘Don’t tell anybody’
Another witness – the boy who is now 13 – said Wednesday that he knew Robinson through Real Men, Real Heroes and viewed him as a teacher for the group. During an outing to a church camp, he said, he was in a shower stall in his swimming trunks and getting ready to swim when Robinson “touched me in my private part.”
“He said, ‘Don’t tell anybody,’” the boy testified.
The third witness, now 17, testified that he met Robinson through a relative and often saw him at middle school and high school basketball games. He said Robinson groped him at his home or his grandfather’s home.
“It just made me feel uncomfortable,” the 17-year-old said.
When Robinson visited, he wore Board of Education security attire or a suit, the teen said.
Robinson also is facing similar charges in Colorado. The Wichita allegations surfaced in early 2013 after a man told Wichita police that he had been sexually abused by Robinson when he was 12.
At the time of his arrest in January 2013, Robinson was working as school safety services supervisor for the Wichita school district. It put him on paid leave after his arrest, and he remained on the payroll for more than a year. He was making $75,790 a year in the position, which involved oversight of building and security officers.
Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle
Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or firstname.lastname@example.org.