Editorial summary: Kansas | Rock hill herald

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Kansas City Star. December 31, 2021.

Editorial: “A Hot Mess”: The Topeka Prison Dentist’s Sexual Touching Case Not Yet Over

The incarcerated women who alleged sexual harassment by Tomas Co, a dental instructor at Topeka Correctional Facility, deserve justice, and that is why the Shawnee County District Attorney should continue to prosecute.

The Kansas Court of Appeals said Co’s repeated stroking of an inmate’s clothed hand and inner thigh were not “obscene,” and last week overturned his January 2020 conviction for having illegal sex with her. But there were other charges, including that of an inmate who alleged that Co forced his hand into his pocket, which she said cut off the bottom and made her rub his penis.

But at his trial, other than the detainee’s word, there was no evidence to support this claim. The dental lab video had been reviewed by a Department of Corrections investigator, but was subsequently removed. No one else saw it. And as is often the case, detained or not, the women’s claims were not believed. Not by the jury.

The decision on the appeal reads: “The state could have charged Dr. Co with a different offense which did not require the display of obscene touching or touching and criminalizes other types of touching, but l The state chose not to prosecute this accusation. ”

“The state will seek to ask the Kansas Supreme Court to reconsider this case because we believe the appeals court ruling was in error,” Shawnee County Attorney Michael Kagay said on Wednesday in a statement. -mail.

“If the Supreme Court refuses to correct the interpretation of the Court of Appeal, the district attorney will pursue a legislative change,” said the DA. It won’t change the outcome of the Co case, but if Kagay loses a second time, he shouldn’t give up on making changes to bring justice to other women in the future.

In this case, the state withheld more difficult-to-prove felony charges against Co rather than misdemeanor charges such as battery sex.

Kagay did not explain why he had not brought any further charges against Co.

What is clear is that Co’s conviction was not dismissed because a court found he did not do the things he is accused of, but because the prosecution did not comply. the law in which touch, and not intention, was to be considered “obscene”.

He was initially charged with eight counts of having unlawful sex with an inmate. But two of those charges were dismissed. He was tried on six counts. In January 2020, Co was convicted of one, sentenced to 32 months in prison and forced to register as a sex offender.

Co was employed as an instructor from 2013 by the state’s only correctional facility for women. He taught inmates how to make dentures as part of a vocational training program. Nine women complained that he had sexually assaulted them.

As detainees, they could neither stop nor leave to escape their attacker. Any kind of sexual relationship between a prison staff member and an inmate under federal law is considered sexual abuse – even if both parties consider it consensual, as inmates cannot give their consent.

The state had an obligation to protect these women. And if the state has not done so, which it appears to have done in this case, then it has an obligation to prosecute with all the force of the law.

Co’s attorney, Chris Joseph, called the KDOC’s investigation a “burning mess”. Since when does an investigator throw out evidence, no matter who they favor, before trial?

Co cannot be billed again in this case. This would constitute double criminality. If Kagay’s only recourse now is the Kansas Supreme Court, then that’s exactly where he should take this case.

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Topeka Capital-Journal. December 28, 2021.

Editorial: Kansas taxpayer rebate of $ 250 and elimination of sales tax on food would be good practice for surplus

The state of Kansas has a tax surplus of $ 1.3 billion.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly wants to offer taxpayers a $ 250 rebate in light of the large surplus.

Kelly’s office told Topeka Capital-Journal’s Andrew Bahl that the latest plan would provide $ 445 million in aid. The $ 250 rebates would be tax-free, and those filing their taxes jointly would be online for $ 500 each.

“With our fiscal responsibility and record economic development success, we can give taxpayer money back and give every Kansas resident who filed taxes in 2021 a refund of $ 250,” Kelly said. in a press release. “These are significant savings for every family to deliver by summer 2022.”

We agree with the governor. It is a great way to support our citizens.

Companies do it all the time for shareholders by paying dividends. Why can’t the state do this for the taxpayers?

Couple that with the governor’s proposal to eliminate the food sales tax – which is backed by the hope of GOP governor Derek Schmidt – both of these could really make a difference for everyday Kansans.

We support their passage and hope they can help the Sunflower State soon.

Unfortunately, not everyone at the Statehouse is on the same page. Bahl reports that Senator Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, chair of the Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation, said there is an array of ways lawmakers could better help residents.

This includes eliminating taxes on retirement accounts, including Social Security, eliminating the $ 1.5 million levy levied on state construction funds to provide property tax relief, and the freezing of property tax payments for the elderly.

Parker’s ideas are remarkable. We’re also wondering if legislative leaders could make changes to corporate income tax, severance pay tax, banking privilege tax, and top income taxes.

But if Kansans wants the surplus to be used to help as many people as possible, the governor’s two proposals are a good start. We think the governor is on something with these proposals, and we challenge lawmakers to take them seriously.

From our perspective, Kelly’s ideas are winners for everyone. Let’s do something good and bipartisan that can really put money back in the pockets of the Kansans.

We suspect the taxpayers would agree.

TO FINISH


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