An attorney is exploring defense options for a client accused of molesting and sodomizing children.

This research has been delayed again in a case that’s been pending for nearly five years in Labette County District Court against Jered W. Bybee, 36, of Parsons.

Bybee is facing five off-grid felonies: One count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, three counts of aggravated criminal sodomy and one count of sexual exploitation of a child. The off-grid felonies could result in life in prison with no parole for at least 25 years. Bybee also faces 17 counts of sexual exploitation of a child, all mid-level felonies, and three misdemeanors for allegedly sodomizing animals.

Bybee has been jailed since July 16, 2016, which is 1,684 days. One reason for the delay is that Bybee is on his fourth attorney.

According to the complaint, the indecent liberties occurred between Jan. 1, 2013, and July 15, 2016, and involved the lewd fondling of the alleged victim or victims. The exploitation charge allegedly occurred between April 1 and July 15, 2016, and involved Bybee possessing photos or digital files that depicted a child under age 18 engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Testimony at a preliminary hearing in 2018 included police investigators and a Lawrence detective, a computer expert who examined a computer, exterior hard drive, cellphones and numerous thumb drives and SD cards and recovered and cataloged pornographic images or videos from them. Some of the images or videos included Bybee and the young victims. Other images and videos were previously cataloged nationally from pornography investigations involving pedophiles who uploaded preteen hardcore pornography to file-sharing sites and peer-to-peer networks.

The electronics and storage devices were collected by Parsons police from searches in the Bybee investigation. The images depicted children in sexual situations.

A co-defendant, Sasha L. Bruner, pleaded to rape and sexual exploitation of a child and received 15 years in prison. She is eligible for parole in February 2030.

In December, Forrest Lowry, Bybee’s attorney, asked for more time to hire an expert, a psychiatrist, to evaluate his client. A status hearing was set for Monday. Lowry said Monday he needed more time. He said he has a narrow medical question to research through the evaluation on whether two attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications combined would create a desire in someone to commit a crime.

He needs to see if an expert can evaluate Bybee on that question. He also wants a psychologist to conduct another sexual predator evaluation on Bybee. The last evaluation was done four years ago and Lowry thought it was out of date.

Lowry said as the case moves toward a resolution, he needs both of these professionals to talk to his client. He asked for a three- or four-week delay to see if he can get the psychiatrist set up to visit Bybee.

The prosecutors from the Kansas Attorney General’s Office preferred the case be set for trial but deferred to the judge on the delay.

Judge Steve Stockard agreed to the delay and set a status hearing and perhaps a motions hearing for March 22.

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