Marion man remains jailed in McPherson on sex crime charges

By Staff Reports
February 18, 2015

A former Marion County sheriff's dispatcher, who worked as an EMT and firefighter and played Santa for local preschoolers in Marion County, was jailed in late December in McPherson on 13 counts of statutory rape of an 8 year old in Marion and remains jailed in McPherson.

According to an article published in the Hillsboro Star-Journal earlier this month, the jailing of 46 year old Kenneth Newell of Marion was revealed on Monday when Marion County Commissioners were told by Sheriff Robert Craft that they may need to continue to pay McPherson County $30 a day to keep him since he knows too much about the operations of the Marion jail.

The December 23 arrest was on a complaint that alleges one count of statutory rape, 11 counts of aggravated indecencies for allegedly fondling the child, and one count of aggravated intimidation of a witness or victim. All incidents allegedly involve the same 8-year-old, who by law was not identified by name, and were alleged to have occurred between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2013.

Specific allegations included that Newell repeatedly engaged in “lewd fondling or touching” of the child “with the intent to arouse or satisfy (his) sexual desires” and that he “engaged in sexual intercourse” with the child, according to the complaint.

Hearings on the charges have been continued to February 27th. Newell remains incarcerated in lieu of $50,000 bail. Newell’s attorney, Steve Atherton of Emporia, declined to comment on the case.