A Hays man entered a guilty plea Friday morning to amended charges in a case where he was accused of grabbing the genitals of a boy who was staying in his home.
In the plea agreement presented to Judge Blake Bittel in Ellis County District Court, Edward Layton McElhaney, 53, pleaded no contest to aggravated battery and sexual battery. He originally was charged with indecent liberties with a child. He was arrested May 18. The incident was reported to have occurred in March.
Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees said during the hearing the victim, who was 15 at the time but has since turned 16, diverged from his original testimony. When initially interviewed, Drees said, the boy told investigators he was sleeping in a chair when McElhaney grabbed the boy’s genitals and had his other hand on his own genitals outside his pants. The boy later said in the preliminary hearing McElhaney had his other hand in his pocket, and later also said McElhaney was holding a cup of coffee.
The plea bargain recommends sentencing of 24 months probation with Northwest Kansas Community Corrections and no contact with the victim during that time. He also would have to undergo evaluation for sex offender treatment and comply with its recommendations.
In addition, McElhaney would also have to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 15 years, but possibly for life. He has a prior conviction in Colorado for sexual assault in 1992. The courts will have to determine if that would transfer as a second conviction under Kansas statutes.
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 17.