LARNED — A patient at Larned State Hospital was convicted Wednesday of aggravated sexual battery involving a staff member of the hospital.
Russell McFarland, 65, was found guilty at the end of a one-day trial in the Pawnee County District Court, according to Pawnee County Attorney Douglas McNett.
“Testimony was presented at trial that on May 3, 2018, McFarland followed a 19-year-old female staff member into a staff-only area of Larned State Hospital, forced her into a corner and tried to kiss her on the lips,” McNett said. “The staff member was able to get free once another patient on the unit intervened. At the time, the defendant was a patient in the sexual predator treatment program. Additional testimony was presented that other patients on the unit were aware of McFarland’s intense infatuation of the staff member and were keeping an eye out for her once they saw her on the unit that day.”
The jury made up of 8 men and 4 women deliberated for approximately 20 minutes before returning a guilty verdict, McNett said. Defense attorney Charles Pike of Great Bend had argued for the lesser offense of misdemeanor sexual battery.
District Judge Bruce Gatterman scheduled sentencing for 11 a.m. on March 18. The defendant was returned to the custody of Larned State Hospital.
Depending on his criminal history, McFarland faces between 31 months and eight years in the custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections. According to the KDOC offender website, his prison sentence expired in 2004. He was convicted for enticement of a child, committed Nov. 2, 1984, and indecent liberties with a child, committed March 1, 1989. Both convictions were in Sedgwick County, where he previously lived.
Kansas law allows the courts to order sex offenders to be held indefinitely for treatment after they’ve served their prison sentences. Legislators created the program in 1994 after the rape and murder of a college student by a sex offender who had been released from prison, and the U.S. Supreme Court declared it constitutional in 1997 because of the promised treatment.