PLATTSBURGH — Sex offender John Regan made his first appearance in a Plattsburgh court Monday in the state's effort to have him civilly confined.
Regan, 60, appeared in green prison clothing three days after a judge ordered him held past his originally scheduled release date for the 2005 attempted kidnapping of standout Saratoga Springs High School cross-country runner Lindsey Ferguson.
The purpose of Monday's appearance was to hold a hearing to determine if a trial should be held to decide if Regan is a sex offender requiring civil confinement. A trial would be held if the judge holding the hearing decides there's enough evidence to suggest the offender needs confinement.
Regan's attorney from the state Mental Hygine Legal Services, Charles Bayer, however, asked for a delay in the hearing to fully familiarize himself with the case. He just received it Friday, he noted, a day after the state Attorney General's Office filed for confinement.
State Supreme Court Justice Mark Powers, in Clinton County, granted Bayer's request and rescheduled the hearing for next month. Regan is to remain in custody at the Clinton County Correctional Facility in Dannamora.
Bayer also unsuccessfully requested that press be excluded from the hearing based on the mental health underpinnings of such civil confinement proceedings, as well as other arguments. Powers denied that request.
Regan, formerly of Waterbury, Conn., was imprisoned for the Saratoga Springs attempted kidnapping, as well as an earlier conviction for a kidnapping in Connecticut in 1993.
The Attorney General's Office, by its court filing Thursday seeking detention, contends the Saratoga County conviction was a sexually motivated offense. Such a finding makes him eligible for confinement.
The AG's office must now prove that Regan has the required mental abnormality for confinement. Should Powers determine at the hearing that probable cause exists to proceed, a trial would be held to determine if he has that abnormality and then what to do with him. The options at that point are confinement or intense supervision.
The main witness at the hearing is to be a doctor called by the Attorney General's Office, according to Monday's proceedings. Assistant Attorney General Joseph Muia is handling the case for the office.
The Saratoga Springs case drew much attention because of its sensational nature and because the victim was a national champion runner.
Regan waited in a van the evening of the offense and grabbed Ferguson as she went to her car after cross-country practice. She broke free of his grasp and cross-country coach Art Kranick followed Regan as he drove away. Kranick's wife and fellow coach, Linda Kranick, called police and they arrested Regan within a few blocks.
A search of Regan's van revealed a tarp, rope, photography equipment and tools, including a shovel.
Regan attacked Ferguson 12 years after he attacked and raped Connecticut resident Donna Palomba inside her home. Regan wasn't identified and arrested until 2004. He was free on $350,000 bail when he attacked Ferguson.
Palomba has since gone on to be a victim's advocate and founded JaneDoeNoMore.org. Regan had been expected to serve as much as three extra years in Connecticut for Palomba's attack, but a long-since changed law eliminated that time.