Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Jerry Morris - Repeat Sex Offender - Strikes Again

Porter County Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper said of everything she has seen during her years on the bench, she's always amazed by parents who knowingly leave their children vulnerable to sex offenders.

This was the case with Portage resident Jerry Morris, whom Harper sentenced Tuesday to the near-maximum 12 years behind bars for repeatedly fondling a 6-year-old girl just a short time after being released from prison from one of his two earlier molestation convictions.

Morris also pleaded guilty to violating his probation from those earlier offenses by drinking alcohol, looking at pornography on the Internet and failing to pay his fees.

Morris, who can be released in about five years with good behavior and as a result of time already served, was ordered to undergo sex offender treatment while in prison.

The most recent molestations occurred between March 2 and Aug. 10, 2007, and involved the daughter of a friend staying temporarily at Morris' mobile home at 70 B Cod Drive.

The girl told police she spent a few weekends with her father and Morris, and was left alone on occasion with Morris. She said Morris would tickle her but denied he fondled her.

Morris admitted to fondling the girl during an interview that was part of a sexual history polygraph examination that is a requirement stemming from his earlier molestation convictions. He said he tickled her on numerous occasions and fondled her as many as five times.

The 29-year-old apologized Tuesday, asked for forgiveness and said he has the support of his family if he were allowed to go free.

Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek gave Morris credit for admitting the crime, but said he has proven himself a poor candidate to be released on probation.

Harper said she did not know if officials with the Indiana Department of Child Services were involved in the case, but criticized the parent responsible for leaving the child with Morris.

"25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years"
.........Sarah Tofte

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