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Castrated Molester Is Sentenced

March 4, 1998

GENEVA, Ill. (AP) _ An admitted child molester who had himself surgically castrated in hopes of getting a lighter prison term was sentenced Tuesday to 26 years in prison for molesting two girls.

He could have gotten nearly 100 years.

Judge Donald Hudson noted that 30-year-old Jeffrey Morse waited ``until the gates of the penitentiary were closing in on him″ before he was castrated. Hudson also said he wanted to keep the threat of a stiff sentence as a deterrent to other child molesters.

``I choose not to lose the threat of a longer sentence and its deterrence because the defendant wants to use his body parts as a bargaining chip,″ the judge said.

Morse, who pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual assault and three other charges, could have been sentenced to almost 100 years for molesting two girls, ages 8 and 12.

Prosecutor Kathy Diamond Karayannis asked for a sentence of 25 to 60 years and called Morse’s castration a ploy to evoke sympathy and get a lighter sentence.

``He had control over these victims,″ she said. ``Do not let him get control over this court, too.″

Defense attorney Paul Wharton urged the judge to impose a lighter sentence, possibly even the minimum six-year term, calling Morse ``the safest sex offender in the United States today.″

``Jeff Morse has made himself as non-dangerous a pedophile as a pedophile can be,″ he said.

Morse spoke briefly before the sentencing. In a trembling voice, he said he was sorry, ``but I can’t go back and undo what I did.″

Dr. John Mulhall, a Loyola University Medical Center urologist, said he was skeptical about European studies showing a drastic drop in recidivism among castrated sex offenders. But did agree that castration can ``dramatically″ lower testosterone levels, thereby decreasing sex drive and the rate of recidivism among offenders.

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