Trial postponed 4 months in alleged sex assault of 14yo

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The jury trial of a man charged with sexual assaulting a 14-year-old girl, who was transported from Topeka to Colorado in January, was postponed for 17 weeks on Monday.

The new trial date for Michael Scott Fitzgerald, 47, of Topeka, is Dec. 9.

The original date for the Fitzgerald trial to start in Shawnee County District Court was on Monday and was expected to last five days.
Fitzgerald was indicted on six charges, which are aggravated indecent liberties with a child (sexual intercourse), electronic solicitation of a child 14-16, indecent liberties with a child, indecent solicitation of a child, aggravated interference with parental custody of a 14-year-old girl, and contributing to a child's misconduct (sheltering or concealing a runaway).

The six charges are felonies.

Fitzgerald is scheduled to appear at a pre-trial hearing on Nov. 4.

Meanwhile, a prosecution motion asking the judge to increase the sentences of Fitzgerald if a jury convicted him remains on the table, as of Monday.

According to a Kansas statute, if Fitzgerald is convicted of charges by the jury, a separate hearing could be conducted in which prosecutors would "present some evidence touching on the departure factors," the departure motion said. The judge must issue an order to conduct the hearing if Fitzgerald was convicted.

"A separate sentencing proceeding is required when a defendant has been found guilty of a crime and the (prosecutor) seeks an increase in the defendant's sentence above the presumptive sentence provided by law," according to the "Pattern Instructions for Kansas."

PIK is published by the Kansas Judicial Council, and the Kansas Supreme Court recommends that district courts use the instructions.

The district attorney's office favors that a separate proceeding should be conducted immediately after the trial, the prosecution motion said.

That motion to increase the sentences was filed on July 2.
The defense hasn't responded to the prosecution motion to beef up the sentences if Fitzgerald is convicted.

The girl was reported missing from her Topeka home since January 22, then was located with Fitzgerald in a motel in the town of Cortez in southwest Colorado two days later.
Fitzgerald was booked into Shawnee County Jail on February 8. As of Monday, Fitzgerald remains in custody in lieu of a $250,000 cash or professional surety bond, according to jail records.