Nebraska Short Sex Offender Classified as High Risk

The sex offender whose 5-foot-1 height was cited by a judge as she sentenced him to probation instead of prison has been classified by the state as a high risk to reoffend.

Richard W. Thompson, 50, of Sidney, on Wednesday was classified as a Class III offender — the highest risk for reoffending — after assessment by the Nebraska State Patrol.

As a Class III offender, Thompson's name, address and photo are posted on the State Patrol's public registry and he must notify the state, through the local sheriff, of any change of address and other information.

As of Thursday, his information was available on the registry Web site.

The transcript of Thompson's sentencing in May shows that the District Judge Kristine Cecava of Cheyenne County considered a number of factors in addition to Thompson's height when considering the sentence.

"What you have done is absolutely inexcusable," she said.

Thompson's crimes deserved a long sentence, Cecava said, but she expressed concern that the Thompson would be especially imperiled by prison dangers.

"Can I make other children safe from you?" the judge said. "You are a sex offender, and you did it to a child."

But, she said, "That doesn't make you a hunter. You do not fit in that category.

"I'm going to try to put together some kind of order to keep you out of prison."

He will be electronically monitored the first four months of his probation, and he was told to never be alone with someone under age 18 or date or live with a woman whose children were under 18. Cecava also ordered Thompson to get rid of his pornography.

Attorney General Jon Bruning's office filed an appeal of the sentence on May 31, and the judge's decision not to imprison Thompson brought local and national criticism.

Dr. Shannon Black, the State Patrol's clinical director of the Sex Offender Registry, said the Class III status was reached after assessment of Thompson in 14 areas.

"It doesn't mean a person will or won't reoffend," she said. "We have no way of identifying who will or won't reoffend."

It was Thompson's first felony conviction. Cecava found him guilty of having sexual contact with a girl last summer. The girl is now 14.