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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Reprieve from Jessica’s Law given

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  • A Wichita man got a reprieve from a Jessica’s Law sentence in Harvey County court earlier this month.
    Damian Mayes of Wichita was convicted in Harvey County District Court of having sexual contact with a 9-year-old boy from Newton.
    Mayes was a former paraprofessional who worked in Wichita. He was let go from his position there for allegedly inappropriate contact with students, but charges were never filed, Harvey County Attorney David Yoder said.
    Mayes came to Newton to visit a developmentally disabled boy who he knew. The mother of the developmentally disabled boy had a boyfriend living in the house who also had a son.
    The father left the house and returned at 3 a.m. to find Mayes having sexual contact with his son, Yoder said.
    Mayes, who is in his 30s was arrested and found guilty by jury on charges of aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated indecent liberties with a child.
    Because the victim was younger than 14, the perpetrator was eligible for a Jessica’s Law sentence. A Jessica’s Law sentence would require the perpetrator to be sentenced to a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison.
    Judge Richard Walker chose to depart from the Jessica’s Law sentencing guidelines and ordered Mayes to serve 155 months in prison on the aggravated sodomy charge and 59 months in prison on the aggravated indecent liberties charge with the sentences to run consecutively, which equals less than 18 years in prison.
    “I argued for 50 (years),” Yoder said.
    Mayes is now appealing his conviction and Walker said he could not comment on his ruling.
    The sentencing hearing is a matter of public record, but the sentencing hearing was lengthy and records were unavailable at press time.
    “The judge stated he felt that he need to temper the sentence and his sentence was appropriate for the crime committed despite the legislature’s requirement for life in prison,” Yoder said.
    “He felt it was too long, but I am afraid I had another position,” Yoder said.
    Yoder said Jessica’s Law allows for a variety of circumstances for which a departure can be granted, such as the victim was an active participant and the perpetrator had diminished capacity.
    However, Yoder said the only mitigating factor in this case was Mayes had no previous criminal record.
    This is the second Jessica’s Law case to be tried in Harvey County. The first case against Jerry Fellers also resulted in a departure granted by Judge Joe Dickinson.

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