GHS inmate gets two years for attempted rape

Hendrickson found guilty of one felony count of attempted sexual assault

Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2003

A developmentally disabled former half-way house resident accused of attempting to rape another half-way house inmate will spend the next two years in prison.

Ryan Robert Hendrickson, 24, was found guilty of one felony count of attempted sexual assault earlier this week and was sentenced today by Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks.

Hendrickson originally was charged with second-degree sexual assault, a more serious felony, but was indicted by a Juneau grand jury on the attempted assault charge.

As part of a plea agreement between District Attorney Rick Svobodny and defense attorney Jeff Sauer, Hendrickson will serve a sentence of two years. Once he is released, he will remain on probation for a prior second-degree-sexual-abuse-of-a-minor felony conviction in Kenai.

The conditions of his probation in that case include sex offender treatment and continued counseling for his mental disability.

According to Sauer, Hendrickson was in a four-wheeler accident 10 years ago and sustained a head injury that severely impaired his mental capacity and impulse control.

Because he's been convicted at least twice of sex crimes, he also must register with the state each year as a sex offender.

According to court records, Hendrickson was a resident of Taku House on Nov. 23 when the incident occurred. Taku House is an apartment unit operated by Gastineau Human Services' halfway house used by mentally ill and developmentally disabled offenders.

According to court records, Hendrickson was a friend of the 21-year-old victim's roommate. Court records said the victim told police she woke up with Hendrickson on top of her and attempting to have sex with her. The woman told police she pushed Hendrickson off of her and he eventually left her room, according to court records.

Hendrickson did not speak on his own behalf at his sentencing hearing today. The victim also did not speak at the hearing because Svobodny said the DA's office couldn't reach her to notify her of the hearing. Svobodny also didn't comment on the case.

Sauer did not dispute the facts of the case or the sentence, but argued that his client couldn't enroll in a sex offender treatment program because of his disability.

"He has been kicked out of the community sex offender treatment program and was not allowed into the one at Lemon Creek (Correctional Center)," Sauer said in court. "He was told his reading and cognitive skills were too low for him to comprehend what was being taught."

Svobodny later said programs are available in Juneau for the mentally ill and disabled. Sauer said Hendrickson can't get into such programs because of a long waiting list.

With time off for good behavior, Hendrickson will be eligible for release in about one year and four months.

Melanie Plenda can be reached

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