Lawrence man, former foster father given life sentence for sexual abuse of biological daughters

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A Lawrence man and former foster father who was found guilty of lewd fondling and sexual intercourse with his biological daughters was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

A Douglas County jury found the 47-year-old man guilty last month on four counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, and one count of indecent liberties with a child. The incidents began when one of the daughters was 14 and the other was 10.

We are not naming the man to protect the victim-survivors.

Retired Judge Gunnar Sundby sentenced the man to a “hard 25” for one of the counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, and a total of 132 months – or 11 years – for the additional crimes, which will be served concurrently in the Kansas Department of Corrections.

The younger of the two daughters, now 19, said she was satisfied with the sentence. She said she and her sister have been working to move forward.

“It’s been a stressful couple of months,” she said. “My healing process has been extensive.”

Both daughters testified against their father during the trial. In a press release, District Attorney Suzanne Valdez said the victim-survivors showed bravery by telling their stories.

“The defendant preyed upon his own children,” Valdez said. “I commend the survivors for exercising tremendous courage to bring this perpetrator to justice and making our community safer.”

In addition to the two daughters, the convicted man was also stepfather to two estranged adult sons and three adopted children ages 5, 6 and 7. According to court testimony, between 2010 and 2021 the man and his wife provided foster care for approximately 90 children.

There are currently no allegations of abuse associated with the other children, who were removed from the home once charges were brought against the father.

The younger daughter said the life sentence would provide everyone with peace of mind.

“The thing I want most is for the kids to be safe,” she said.

The mother of the children was a licensed professional counselor from January 2019 until early 2021. She has been charged with child endangerment and intimidation of a witness in connection with the abuse. A preliminary hearing in that case is scheduled for July 21.

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Resources for survivors

If you have experienced sexual violence or trauma, please seek the help that’s right for you. There are many options available, and you don’t have to file a police report if you don’t want to.

Get 24/7 help in Lawrence: The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center
  • Call 785-843-8985 to reach an advocate, 24/7. (Consider saving that number in your phone in case you or someone you know ever needs it.)
  • After an assault: What are my options? Check this page for detailed information about
    • talking to an advocate,
    • going to the hospital,
    • making a police report,
    • and/or talking to a counselor or therapist.
  • On campus? Check this page for specific resources for the University of Kansas, Haskell Indian Nations University, Baker University, Ottawa University and more.
Resources on KU’s campus:
  • Contact the CARE (Campus Assistance, Resource, and Education) Coordinator: Students can make an appointment by email,, or by calling 785-864-9255. It’s free, confidential and voluntary to talk with the CARE Coordinator. All genders welcome. Read more here.
  • Find more KU campus resources at this link. Specific information about sexual assault exams can be found here.
  • Direct message KU CARE Sisters on Instagram. You don’t need to be affiliated with Greek Life to reach out and/or receive assistance. (Note: CARE Sisters provide peer support and education, but this is not a 24/7 service like others listed here.)
Domestic violence situations: The Willow Domestic Violence Center
  • Reach the Willow for help 24/7 at 785-843-3333.
  • Find more resources on the Willow’s website at this link.
More resources
  • StrongHearts Native Helpline: Call 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483) for 24/7 safe, confidential and anonymous domestic and sexual violence support for Native Americans and Alaska Natives that is culturally appropriate.
  • National hotline: Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), text “START” to 88788, and/or visit to chat and learn more, 24/7.

Andrea Albright (she/her), reporter, can be reached at aalbright (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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