Saturday, September 01, 2001

Judge defends release of sex offender




By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A judge is defending his decision to allow a sexual predator to be released on his own recognizance.

        Butler County Common Pleas Judge Matthew Crehan on Friday agreed to lower the $30,000 bond set for Randall Richardson, 42, of Hamilton. Previously convicted of molesting children, Mr. Richardson is accused of two additional counts of gross sexual imposition involving juveniles.

        Defense lawyer Bradley Carmella had asked for the reduction, which Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Muench-McElfresh opposed.

        “I would hope that no one who has been convicted of sex crimes upon children and had been determined to be a predator would ever be released on an (own recognizance) bond, ” Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper said.

        Last month, another man Judge Crehan had released on a no-cash-required-bond, David E. West, was accused of having sexual contact with two girls in Hamilton County while awaiting trial on child-sex charges in Butler Coun ty. Mr. West, 51, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in Butler County and was sentenced to a year in prison.

        However, Judge Crehan doesn't think Mr. Richardson would re-offend and he thinks the public will be protected because Mr. Richardson “is being kept on a tight rein.”

        The judge ordered Mr. Richardson to remain on house arrest and to continue sex-offender treatment — measures his probation officer testified would be adequate.

        Judge Crehan also said his decision “makes sense” considering Mr. Richardson was progressing under sex-offender treatment. Mr. Richardson also had been free for a year — with no new alleged offenses — when he was indicted in May on allegations that date back about two years.

        “So these are new "old' allegations, so to speak,” the judge said. “He's not accused of committing any offenses after that time ... And what's society going to gain by interfering with treatment that seems to be working?”

       



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