Sex offender sentenced in Arkansas City

ARKANSAS CITY, Kansas — Loarn Fitzgerald II was sentenced Thursday in Cowley County District Court for child sex crimes.

Cowley County Attorney Christopher Smith urged that Fitzgerald was a “danger to society” and that Judge James Pringle consider Jessica’s Law.

Judge Pringle sentenced Fitzgerald to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

KSN continues asking questions about the Cowley County judge who handed down what residents consider ‘low bond amounts’ for men accused, and even convicted of sex crimes against children.

Fitzgerald spent the past two weeks, prior to Thursday’s sentencing, at his home with his family. He was forced to have an electronic monitoring device.

Judge Pringle set Fitzgerald’s bond at only $25,000. Fitzgerald posted $2,500 bail.

The County Attorney, along with area residents, told KSN that the bond was too low, and believe Fitzgerald should have spent the two weeks behind bars.

“I was against releasing him on bond,” said Smith.

When asked if he believed Fitzgerald was a possible flight risk, Smith said he considers Fitzgerald a flight risk and a danger to the community.

KSN was at Fitzgerald’s sentencing where his most recent victim and her family wanted to speak with us.

“What’s to say he couldn’t have hurt his own children or other little kids in the community? They should have never let him out,” said a family member of the victim.

“I was worried that he would find me and he would do it again to me. I was always waking up in the middle of the night and having bad dreams,” Fitzgerald’s most recent victim told KSN.

Judge Pringle may have a track record of low bonds in cases like these.

The Ark City Police Department reported that Paul Edward Ross, 38, was arrested July 1 after allegedly raping a 6-year-old girl over the course of the past two years, since she was four. Read the police department’s press release here.

Judge Pringle reportedly released Ross on only $15,000 bond; $1,500 bail. The investigation remains ongoing.

Kansas state Senator Michael O’Donnell says things need to change.

“The legislature does need to step in and just have a minimum threshold. If you are accused or charged with a certain crime, and some of the most horrific crimes are child sex crimes, that we are going to hold you accountable,” said Sen. O’Donnell.

KSN reached out to Judge Pringle for comment. He declined to interview on camera.

The judge did however, point to the county’s bond schedule. He told KSN that it reportedly had not been revised and in effect at the time of Fitzgerald’s case.

For more information, check the links below.

Related Links:
Cowley County residents question bond for sex offender
Search the KBI’s Registered Sex Offender Database (Must agree to the search conditions)

Full text of Kansas Statutes: 
Kansas Statute Article 21-5512 – Unlawful Sexual Relations
Kansas Statute 22 – Offender Registration
Kansas Statute Article 55 – Sex Offenses

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