kennedy

PLATTSBURGH — To the dismay of his victims and their families, former child therapist Douglas Kennedy will soon be released from prison.

The 46-year-old former Peru resident has been granted a conditional release after having served more than four years behind bars on nearly a dozen sex-abuse-related charges, Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Linda Foglia said this week.

Kennedy was sentenced to a maximum term of 21⁄3 to 7 years in prison after he admitted abusing 10 children he counseled through Behavioral Health Services North in Plattsburgh.

The abuse came to light in late 2004, when the first victim came forward, and authorities heard from nine other victims later.

Kennedy had been working at the local mental-health-services agency for almost a decade. He resigned from his counseling position when the abuse came to light.

His victims, both males and females, ranged in age from 8 to 15 and were being treated for sexual abuse or behavioral problems.

Authorities have said that Kennedy engaged in oral and anal contact with some of the victims and showed pornography to others.

In one case, he handcuffed and undressed a young girl, telling her it was for a therapeutic game of “cops and robbers.”

All of the abuse is believed to have happened at Kennedy’s former workplace.

Officials said he was approved for the earliest release date of Nov. 4, based on good behavior. He is being housed at Groveland Correctional Facility in Livingston County.

It was unclear Tuesday whether Kennedy, who is originally from Idaho, will relocate to the area.

Upon his release, Kennedy must register as a sex offender and abide by an array of requirements.

At the time of his March 2005 sentencing, many parents and community members were outraged by his prison term, though it was the maximum allowable by law.

Prosecutors said at the time that Kennedy cooperated with the investigation and pleaded guilty to avoid putting his victims through an emotional trial.

A parent of one of the children who was abused told the Press-Republican: “Already time served for good behavior, only four years after destroying 10 kids’ lives and the lives of their families. Why wasn’t he thinking about his behavior at the time he was physically, sexually, mentally and emotionally traumatizing these poor innocent kids? Where was his good behavior then? But he got his light slap on the hand, and now he’ll be out in the public, and we are still picking up the pieces.”



E-mail Andrea VanValkenburg at:

avanvalkenburg@pressrepublican.com

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