MURRAY -- The accessibility of state sex offender programs has proven a sticking point in plea negotiations for the former Murray High School teacher accused of videotaping students, attorneys said Thursday.
Mark Boggess, charged with eight counts each of voyeurism and possession of material portraying a sexual performance of a minor, appeared in Calloway Circuit Court on Thursday for a pretrial hearing, along with defense attorney Gary Haverstock.
Haverstock said he had received a plea offer from the commonwealth's attorney, but needed more time to discus the implications of pleading guilty to a sexual offense. Kentucky mandates sex offenders undergo the Sex Offender Treatment Program to be eligible for parole, but Haverstock said the programs are so full that some defendants can't get into the program until they've nearly served their sentences in full.
"I have one case where a man got six years and (SOTP) didn't even look at him until five and a half."
According to the Kentucky Department of Corrections, only four facilities offer the program. The program at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex accepts 150 participants at a time.
According to the department's website, "Whenever it becomes necessary for SOTP to maintain a waiting list, the applicants are taken into the program by order of which their referrals are received."
"I wish I could sit here and say … that if somebody got a five-year sentence they would immediately start the program," Haverstock said, "but that doesn't happen."
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney James Burkeen didn't object to setting a new pretrial conference for Boggess, but requested Circuit Judge James Jameson to set a trial date in case negotiations fell short.
Jameson set the trial for Feb. 19, with another pretrial scheduled for Jan. 7.
Boggess was first arrested in April, after an investigation into allegations that he set up a video recording device in the restroom of a nurse's station at Murray High School.
After he was indicted on those charges, more charges were brought before a grand jury, which indicted him again.
He resigned shortly after his first charges.