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Convicted killer arrested on suspicion of rape 8-year-old

WICHITA, Kan. – A man convicted in wife’s strangulation death, is 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 imprisonment but had escaped from prison on parole in 2006.

Police say the 8-year-old was among several children Cox babysat, including the girl’s three brothers and sisters, and Cox’s children. The father of the girl said Cox began babysitting his daughter, because the mother of the girl knew that someone in Cox’s family. He said that the family was not aware of Cox’s criminal record and the information is hard to find.

Cox is not on the Kansas offender registry web site, because his 1984 murder conviction has taken place before 1 July 1997. Crimes that occurred before then is not eligible for registration, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Even if Cox is a registered offender, Kansas does not have a law prohibiting registered offenders living in the vicinity of schools, nurseries 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 e-mail that Cox “was managed in accordance with the level and the nature of the risk, which the Kansas Department of Corrections was aware. . The crime for which he was on parole was not a sex offense, and thus he was not managed as a sex offender.”

In 2010, while still on parole for Kessinger to the murder, Cox went to court to felony drug possession and felony 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 charges. After eight months, Cox was granted early release from probation in that case, court records show.

It is unclear whether this arrest and condemnation had no effect on his parole in the murder case.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kansas) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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