A scheduling hearing is set for late February for a Parsons man facing charges that could result in a life term in prison.

Jered W. Bybee, 36, is facing five off-grid felonies in Labette County District Court: 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.

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.

A scheduling conference took place Monday via the Zoom online meeting platform. Forrest Lowry represents Bybee and the Kansas Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case.

Lowry on Monday asked for more time to hire a expert to evaluate Bybee. A new hearing to check on Lowry’s progress is set for Feb. 22.

Lowry also asked for his client, who has been jailed about 4 1/2 years, to be released on his own recognizance and placed on electronic monitoring. Bybee would stay with his mother and grandmother and no small children visit or live in the house, Lowry said. He said Bybee would not be a flight risk and would be supervised by a court service officer.

Judge Steven Stockard denied Bybee’s request for a lower bond. He said his primary concern is the circumstances of the allegations in the complaint and the vulnerable nature of the victims. He added that the length of time that Bybee is facing upon conviction is a possible motivating factor to not return to court. He kept the bond at $100,000.

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