Columbus woman pleads guilty to felony child-sex charge
Roger McKinney, Joping Globe, July 08, 2008
A Columbus woman will be sentenced Aug. 19 after pleading guilty Tuesday to a reduced charge of felony attempted
aggravated indecent liberties with a child.
Ashley Thompson, 23, was bound over for trial in September 2007 on three
felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The victim
was the then-14-year-old boy who had worked as the baby sitter for
Thompson-s children at her house in Columbus. The original charges
alleged Thompson had sex with the boy on Feb. 25 and March 1 and 2,
2007, at her house in Columbus.
The original charges were dismissed when she pleaded guilty to the
reduced charge as part of a plea agreement.
Cherokee County District Judge Kent Lynch found Thompson guilty of the
Thompson's attorney, Sam Marsh, told Lynch he would submit the
transcript of the preliminary hearing as the factual basis of the charge.
The victim wasn't in the courtroom for the plea hearing, but the
victim-s mother said before the hearing started that her son didn't want
to testify in front of Thompson again.
"It has totally changed him," she said of the situation. She said she
agreed to the plea deal because her son wanted it.
The victim's mother said society has a double-standard about such
crimes, and that if the incident involved a 23-year-old man having sex
with a 14-year-old girl, the case would have gone to trial. She said as
it is, she couldn't take the chance that a member of the jury wouldn't
see anything wrong with a 23-year-old woman having sex with a
14-year-old boy. Thompson was 22 at the time of alleged sex acts.
"It-s not right," she said. "It-s not fair. He-s as much a victim as a
She said she considered it a problem with society, rather than one of
the legal system.
Former Assistant Cherokee County Attorney Garth Adams prosecuted the
case during the preliminary hearing, but County Attorney John Bullard
had since taken over the prosecution.
The plea agreement contained no specific recommendation as to
sentencing, but Marsh said outside the courtroom that based on
Thompson-s criminal history, she would be expected to be assessed
Thompson has been bound over for trial in Jasper County Circuit Court,
Joplin, Mo., on a felony charge of second-degree statutory rape in an
alleged incident in Jasper County, with the same alleged victim named.
"Over here I feel helpless," the victim's mother said. "In Jasper
County, I don't. I feel she'll be held accountable in Jasper County."
The plea agreement requires Ashley Thompson to register under the Kansas
Offender Registry Act.