Sex abuse case not only time Kansas judge has been lenient


State News

February 8, 2019 - 12:50 PM

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge who blamed two teenage girls for a sexual encounter with a 67-year-old man spent nearly a decade on the bench overseeing mostly sealed juvenile and child-in-need-of-care cases behind closed doors before taking over the adult criminal cases for a retiring judge last summer.

Since then, Leavenworth County Judge Michael Gibbens’ rulings have drawn more scrutiny and criticism, including his widely panned decision in December in a sex abuse case during which he eased a man’s sentence after saying the victims, ages 13 and 14, were “more an aggressor than a participant.”

It was not the first time Gibbens has substantially departed from Kansas sentencing guidelines in handing down lenient punishments, according to court documents reviewed by The Associated Press. In July, he sentenced a man to probation for battery of a law enforcement officer. In November, he gave another man probation for bringing contraband into a state prison.

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