Judge says he's powerless to block marriage of molester to woman with children

By PAULA McMAHON Sun-Sentinel
Nov. 2, 2000

A Broward County judge ruled Wednesday that he is powerless to stop a convicted sexual offender, who had abused his stepchildren, from marrying and moving in with a woman who has young children.

John Medlock, 47, who lived in Miramar at the time, pleaded guilty in 1990 to charges that he repeatedly molested his three stepdaughters from a previous marriage. He served eight years of a 20-year prison sentence and was released in 1998. He will remain on probation for nine years.

Medlock's fiancée, Kathy Anderson, says he is a wonderful man. The couple met 18 months ago, and she wants to marry him as soon as possible and have him move in with her family, a 12-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, she said.

But probation officers who supervise Medlock in Monticello in North Florida were so concerned about his plans to marry that they tried to limit his contact with Anderson's children.

So Medlock's attorney, Ken Malnik, filed court papers in Broward, where Medlock was convicted and sentenced, to try to adjust the terms of his probation.

In response, Assistant State Attorney Dan Stiffler asked Broward Circuit Judge Marc Gold to prevent Medlock from moving in with Anderson's children.

"We can't stop him from marrying her," Stiffler said. "But I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of him moving in with children who are the same age as children he has abused in the past."

Anderson and her children asked the judge to let Medlock, who has been ordained in the Southern Baptist Convention, move in with them. The children said he is a "nice man" who helps them with their homework.

One of Medlock's victims wrote to the judge, saying she hoped Medlock would not be allowed to be in a position where he could do to other children what he did to her.

On Wednesday, Gold examined the results of a polygraph that Medlock had taken at the request of probation officials. Medlock passed the polygraph test that questioned him about his interaction with children.

Barry Jones, a licensed clinical social worker who runs the court-ordered therapy program for sex offenders in Monticello, told prosecutors that Medlock successfully completed his therapy. Jones said he could neither object to nor support Medlock's plans to move in with the family, Stiffler said.

Jones cautioned that Medlock was not showing good judgment by so quickly putting himself in close contact with children and should be monitored in case he reoffends, Stiffler said in court.

But because the judge who sentenced him at the time said only that Medlock could not have contact with his victims, Gold said there was nothing he could do to prevent Medlock from moving into the family home.

"Since I've been on the bench, I've never seen a case where the state didn't seek to impose (that the defendant have) no contact with children under a certain age," Gold said Friday.

Gold said he had no authority to change Medlock's sentence unless he violated his probation.

"If this man violates probation in any way, the probation officer should notify this court," Gold said. "This doesn't mean we have to wait for a criminal act. If the probation officer feels contact with an under-16-year-old is a violation, they can submit that."

From the day he went to prison for his crimes, Medlock said, he decided that he would change his life. He turned to religion and earned a university degree in prison.

Medlock met Anderson at the church where he is now a minister of music.

"I've never lied about my past. I tell everyone what I did," he said. "God changes people."

"I'm not what I was 11 years ago," he said, and added that he was not the kind of pedophile who "stalked out" children.

Paula McMahon can be reached at:
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