Convicted sex offender may be retried

By on March 26, 2009

by Martha Quetsch
Thomas L. Maurer, of Elburn, convicted in 2004 of soliciting sex from a teenage girl, may be retried in Kane County Circuit Court, the 2nd District Illinois Appellate Court ruled March 12.

The decision reversed a 2008 Circuit Court ruling that denied Maurer’s petition for a retrial.

In May 2006, Maurer petitioned the court to withdraw his 2004 plea and conviction, claiming medication he took for Parkinson’s disease at the time of the crime caused a lack of impulse control.

In January 2008, Kane County Judge Grant Wegner denied Maurer’s petition. Dr. Albert Stipes, a forensic psychiatrist, had testified that the medication Maurer was taking at the time of the crime, Requip, caused his sexually deviant behavior. Stipes said the symptom was not a known side effect of the medication until a Mayo Clinic study made the connection in 2005.

Judge Wegner declared that Stipes’ testimony was “suspect” because the defendant did not exhibit many of the characteristics attributed to hypersexuality. Wegner ruled that the outcome of Maurer’s 2004 case would not have changed even if the information Stipes presented had been available at that time.

The defendant, who since his conviction has been a registered sex offender, appealed the case to the Appellate Court.

The Appellate Court ruling stated the justices do not believe that (Maurer’s 2004 guilty) plea was truly voluntary. It also stated that the evidence showed Maurer was suffering from impulse control side effects of Requip at the time of his offense, effects which were not known at the time of his guilty plea.

Maurer, 67, was convicted in 2004 on one count of indecent solicitation of a child and sentenced to 24 months of specialized sex offender probation. He was arrested for the offense five years ago during a police sting operation in the 1400 block of Covington Court in St. Charles, where he had arranged to meet a 14-year-old girl, who actually was an undercover adult officer.

When he committed the crime, Maurer had been married for more than 40 years, had two grown sons and no criminal history, said Phillip Montgomery, his attorney at the time of his guilty plea. Maurer retired at age 55 because of Parkinson’s symptoms, and had been a part-time photographer for the Elburn Herald at the time of his arrest.

In February 2006, Maurer’s probation officer filed a notice of a probation violation; he said Maurer requested photographs from a child in an online juvenile chat room.