Castration's Effectiveness Debated Medical Experts at Odds over Procedure's Use on Sex Offenders

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Byline: James Kimberly Daily Herald Staff Writer

Should he or shouldn't he? And if he does, will it help?

Medical experts are as divided over the effectiveness of surgical castration for sex offenders as Jeffrey A. Morse is committed to having the procedure done.

Morse, 30, of Schaumburg, faces the potential of 100 years in prison for the Sept. 3, 1996, molestation of a 12-year-old Algonquin girl and the attempted assault of an 11-year-old St. Charles girl on March 11.

In the hope of persuading a Kane County judge to sentence him to less time in prison for the crimes, Morse will be surgically castrated this week.

His attorney, Paul Wharton, said a physician has agreed to perform the operation at an undisclosed Chicago-area hospital.

"I'm hoping that Judge Donald Hudson will consider this to be the most tangible demonstration of remorse that a human being can make," Wharton said.

It has been Morse who has pushed to have himself castrated, and that's the way it had to be.

Kane County prosecutors first objected to the request on the grounds that it would violate a state law that prohibits incorporating birth control into a criminal sentence.

Eventually, though, the Kane County state's attorney's office chose not to challenge Morse's request for a one-day pass from the county jail so that the surgery could be performed. And Kane County State's Attorney David Akemann said his office will not let the surgery affect the amount of prison time it seeks for Morse.

Several states recently have adopted laws to allow for the castration of sex offenders, both surgically and chemically, through the administration of testosterone-reducing medications.

In May, Texas became the first state to allow the surgical castration of repeat child molesters. Texas adopted the law after convict Larry Don McQuay requested surgical castration to keep him from molesting more children after he was released from a Texas prison.

Instead of the surgery, McQuay was sent to a halfway house for sex offenders, where he molested again. He now is serving a 20-year prison sentence.

Under the Texas law, the repeat child molester must consent to the surgery and undergo counseling before it is performed. The law has not yet been used.

Other states such as Florida, California and Montana since have adopted similar laws. …