Defendant took indecent liberties with foster daughter

A Leavenworth man has been sentenced to four years in prison for taking indecent liberties with a foster child.

Floyd W. Hardin Jr., 38, was sentenced Tuesday in Leavenworth County District Court for a charge of aggravated indecent liberties with a child who was between the age of 14-16.

He pleaded guilty to the charge in August.

The crime reportedly occurred in December 2016. The victim, who was 15 at the time, had been placed in Hardin’s home as a foster child.

In imposing a 48-month sentence, District Judge Michael Gibbens granted a defense motion to depart from what was considered the standard sentence under state sentencing guidelines.

Deputy County Attorney Joan Lowdon had recommended the standard sentence of 59 months.

Defense attorney Richard Johnson requested probation. But he asked for a lower prison sentence if the judge was unwilling to grant probation.

Lowdon said the victim in the case had become Hardin’s foster daughter after previously being sexually abused by someone else.

“That’s why she was in his home to begin with,” Lowdon said.

Lowdon said the girl is now in foster care in another part of the state.

During the sentencing hearing, Johnson called two witnesses to testify. The first witness was Dr. Gregory Sisk, a clinical psychologist who treated Hardin.

The other witness was Dr. Lindsay Dees, who performed a sex offender risk evaluation of Hardin.

Johnson argued his client is at a low risk for reoffending and amenable to therapy. The defense attorney said Hardin has acknowledged his crime.

Johnson said his client is a “superb candidate” for probation.

“If there is a candidate for probation in the state of Kansas for an offense like this, it is Mr. Hardin,” Johnson said.

Johnson also argued the victim had been flirtatious and provided Hardin with attention and affection.

Gibbens said he had seen no report regarding the victim’s behavior.

Johnson said there had been flirtatious Facebook messages. The attorney also said the judge could rely on statements Hardin had made to Sisk and Dees. These statements were mentioned in reports prepared by Sisk and Dees.

Lowdon argued the reports show that the child is not the person who was sexually provocative.

When given the opportunity to speak, Hardin apologized for what happened.

“I would just like to apologize,” he said. “I know now that what I did was wrong.”

The judge recessed the hearing to review information. He announced his decision regarding Hardin’s sentence when he returned.

Gibbens noted that Hardin had come to accept responsibility. The judge said Hardin’s guilty plea avoided the necessity of having the victim testify during a trial.

While he did depart from the standard sentence, Gibbens said he did not find that there were substantial and compelling reasons to grant probation.

The judge said the state of Kansas had entrusted Hardin with the care of the victim. Gibbens said Hardin had violated his duties and responsibilities.

Gibbens also expressed frustration that the prosecutor had mistakenly argued during the hearing that the defense was only seeking probation. But the defense also had asked for a lower prison sentence as a possible alternative to probation.

Hardin had remained free on bond as he awaited sentencing. But Gibbens ordered that Hardin be taken into custody at the conclusion of Tuesday’s hearing.

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