Jailed sex felon and graduate student Kurt Mitman will learn at a hearing today if he will be allowed to return to campus.
University officials discovered last month that Mitman - a first-year Economics graduate student who is serving a jail sentence on child-molestation charges - was commuting to class from a Bucks County prison as part of an academic-release program.
At a Jan. 17 hearing, County Judge Theodore Fritsch suspended Mitman's academic release and gave the county Men's Community Corrections Center two weeks to draft a new release proposal that would provide for more monitoring provisions if Mitman were allowed to return to classes.
When the case is once again brought before Judge Fritsch at 2 p.m. today, he will make a final decision on whether to reinstate Mitman's academic privileges.
Jennifer Schorn, chief of special victims for the Bucks County District Attorney's office, said officials at Penn and at the Men's Community Corrections Center have devised a plan for monitoring him if the judge orders his release.
She added that she will seek to prevent Mitman from being granted any academic privileges whatsoever.
"Until he is paroled, I don't think it is appropriate" that he should be permitted to enroll as a student, Schorn said.
Mitman is eligible for parole in September.
Schorn explained that, because Judge Fritsch decided to suspend Mitman's privileges in the first place, it will be the responsibility of the defense to convince Fritsch that Mitman should be eligible to return to campus.
"I've already presented my case as to the lack of supervision" Mitman received at Penn, Schorn said. "Now it's the defense's burden."
If Mitman were to be reinstated into the academic release program, University spokeswoman Lori Doyle has said the University will allow him to resume classes.
Previously, monitoring of Mitman was limited to calls placed to and from his cell phone, according to testimony taken from his Jan. 17 hearing.
"There was absolutely no monitoring of the defendant, and there were strict conditions placed as to his sentence," Schorn said.
Among those conditions, Schorn said, was a prohibition from contact with minors.
But even if Mitman's suspension is upheld, Schorn said, she has no opposition to his returning to Penn if he is granted parole in the fall.
"He has every right to pursue his academic career once he's paroled," she said.
Schorn added that, although she could not forecast whether he would be released in September, Mitman might face difficulty obtaining parole because of his felony status.
"He's a felony-one sex offender," she said, noting this to be the highest class of sex offenders.
Richard Fink, Mitman's lawyer, could not be reached for comment, though he has previously said that he believes Fritsch will allow Mitman to return to campus under increased supervision.Comments powered by Disqus
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