OLATHE, Kan. — An Olathe family is taking their fight for stricter stalking statutes involving minors to the Kansas House.
The family testified before the Kansas House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about their case involving 58-year-old James Loganbill, a former Olathe teacher.
Loganbill, a former Meadow Lane Elementary fourth grade teacher, is charged with reckless stalking after admitting to taking hundreds of photos and videos of a student.
The charge is a misdemeanor, but the girl’s family wants to make sure stalking a child under 16 is a felony.
“I think that this is a no-brainer as far as filing this type of amendment. I think it makes sense,” Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said during testimony. “It promotes the protections for all victims of stalking, but in particular minors, and it really puts in balance that with minors, it should be a more severe penalty than with adults.”
Legislation the family and supporters are pushing for also asks for a longer sentence of 7-10 years. Currently, stalking in Kansas carries a maximum of one year in behind bars.
“He had taken hundreds upon hundreds of videos and photos of her, on the playground, walking down the hall, eating lunch and tying her shoe,” said Kristyn, the girl’s mother. “We were in utter shock to know a grown man in his 50’s with children of his own would walk free that day after admitting that he viewed a child as sexually attractive. Laws in Kansas don’t always protect children like they should.”
The bill has support from 24 cosponsors and signatures from all three majority House leaders.
Rep. Megan Lynn who represents District 49 in eastern Olathe said:
“As an elected leader called to serve Kansas, I’m glad to be a part of this bipartisan effort. I am glad we can come together and say enough is enough and that our children deserve better. This is a bill that will close a loophole in Kansas law and to better protect our children from child predators.”
If the bill is passed, it will then go to the Senate.
Loganbill resigned from Meadow Lane Elementary School last year, and his case currently is pending. He is set to appear in court next month.