Missouri Judge Refuses to Block Stories on Interview With Accused Kidnapper

A judge on Tuesday refused to block news reports based on interviews a reporter got with the man accused of abducting two boys, sexually abusing them and holding one of them for four years.

Such restraint would violate the U.S. Constitution, which protects freedom of the press, the judge said.

Attorneys for Michael Devlin, 41, were upset that a university student working for the New York Post was able to get an interview with Devlin in jail. They said the reporter lied about her identity and purpose for meeting Devlin and wanted to ban any other stories.

The judge on Tuesday also turned down a request to let Devlin attend court hearings in street clothes and without shackles. Devlin is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Devlin has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges. He has not yet pleaded to charges of forcible sodomy.

Shawn Hornbeck was 11 when he was abducted in 2002 from near his home. Ben Ownby, 13, was taken Jan. 8 after getting off a school bus near his home.

Officers found both boys at Devlin's apartment on Jan. 12.

While it is The Associated Press' policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual abuse in most cases, the story of Shawn and Ben has been widely publicized. Also, their families have gone public, conducting several media interviews.

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