VALPARAISO | Can a convicted child molester who maintains his innocence successfully complete a court-ordered sex offender treatment program?
That question is at the heart of a case heard Friday by Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa.
Matthew Parks, 30, who lived in Porter at the time of the offense, was released in April from the jail portion of his sentence and yet has not begun his sex offender treatment program, said Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Trista Hudson.
Most sex offenders begin treatment shortly after being released from custody, she said.
Parks under went the sex offender evaluation, but his defense attorney did not receive the results until Thursday or two months later than the court.
Alexa agreed to continue the hearing until Nov. 30 as a result of the delayed report. But he also agreed to a request by prosecutors to have Parks begin attending sex offender treatment meetings with Project Pro and get to work on creating a protection plan to help him keep himself and the community safer.
The protection plan was recommended by Project Pro facilitator Brian Armstrong, who told the court that Parks can successfully complete the program while maintaining his innocence if he follows the rules and passes his polygraph tests.
Parks, who is currently ordered to register as a sex offender and avoid contact with his children, wants to be reunited with his family, according to his attorney, Jeffrey Golding.
Parks was sentenced in January to one year in jail and three years of formal probation for molesting a 13-year-old girl in 2009.
The girl, who was 15 at the time of trial, told jurors Parks fondled her on several occasions during the summer and fall of 2009 in Wheatfield and Porter, and made her touch him in a sexual manner.
She said she wrote about the abuse in a diary her mother provided her, and her mother later read the writings. When the girl discovered the page containing the allegations had been ripped out of the book, she burned it, she said.
Parks is appealing.