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Castrated Molester Is Sentenced

March 4, 1998

GENEVA, Ill. (AP) _ An admitted child molester whose attorney called him ``the safest sex offender in the United States″ because he had himself surgically castrated was sentenced to 26 years in prison.

Jeffrey Morse, 30, who could have been sentenced to nearly 100 years for molesting two young girls, had himself castrated in hopes of getting a lighter sentence. But Judge Donald Hudson on Tuesday sentenced him to a much harsher penalty than the six years his attorney had asked for.

Hudson noted that Morse waited ``until the gates of the penitentiary were closing in on him″ before he had the procedure performed. The judge also said he wanted to keep the threat of a long 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,″ Hudson said.

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.″

Morse pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual assault and three other charges for molesting the girls, ages 8 and 11.

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.″

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