WICHITA, Kan. — A man convicted in a woman's strangulation death has been arrested in Kansas on suspicion of repeatedly sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl he had been babysitting.
Clifford Eugene Cox, 56, was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on Monday on suspicion of child rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated indecencies with a child, The Wichita Eagle reports.
Cox pleaded guilty in 1984 to strangling 23-year-old Cathryn Kessinger, of Winfield, with a rope. Kansas Department of Corrections records show he was sentenced to life but was let out of prison on parole in 2006.
Police say the 8-year-old was among several children Cox babysat, including the girl's three siblings and Cox's children. The girl's father said Cox began babysitting his daughter because the girl's mother knew someone in Cox's family. He said the family wasn't aware of Cox's criminal record and information about it is hard to find.
Cox doesn't show up on the Kansas offender registry website because his 1984 murder conviction occurred before July 1, 1997. Crimes occurring before then don't qualify for registration, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Even if Cox was a registered offender, Kansas does not have a law banning registered offenders from living near schools, day care centers or anywhere else.
Cox had remained under parole supervision in the murder case when he was arrested Monday, said Samir Arif, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Corrections. Arif said in an email that Cox "was managed in accordance with the level and type of risk of which the Kansas Department of Corrections was aware. . The crime for which he was on parole was not a sex offense, and so he was not managed as a sex offender."
In 2010, while still on parole for Kessinger's murder, Cox went to court on felony drug possession and misdemeanor weapons charges. Instead of going back to prison or jail, Cox took a plea deal and was sentenced to one year of probation after the court dropped the felony charge. After eight months, Cox was granted early release from probation in that case, court records show.
It's unclear if this arrest and conviction had any effect on his parole in the murder case.