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State moves toward civil confinement for attempted kidnapper

State moves toward civil confinement for attempted kidnapper

John Regan waives right to hearing about probable cause, clearing way for trial
State moves toward civil confinement for attempted kidnapper
John Regan.
Photographer: Provided

PLATTSBURGH — The state's case for keeping sex offender and attempted kidnapper John Regan in custody will go to trial, after Regan gave up his right Monday to a key hearing.

Regan, 60, appeared in court with his attorney, Charles Bayer, and agreed that probable cause exists that he is a sex offender requiring civil confinement.

The hearing came about three weeks after Regan's initial release date for the 2005 attempted kidnapping of standout Saratoga Springs High School cross-country runner Lindsey Ferguson. He served 12 years for that crime.

The Attorney General's Office, which prosecutes civil confinement cases, determined Regan's attempted kidnapping case to be a sexually motivated offense, leading to the civil confinement filing. Regan also has a prior kidnapping case from Connecticut.

The case now moves to trial, possibly in the spring, to determine whether Regan has the "mental abnormality" that makes him likely to reoffend. If that is determined to be the case, the court will decide what to do with him.

In the meantime, Regan remains in custody at Clinton County Correctional Facility. He could have chosen to be confined in a secure mental health facility instead, but consented, on Monday, to remaining at the county jail.

Regan agreed with the probable cause finding after Bayer, provided through the state's Mental Hygine Legal Services, renewed a motion to exclude members of the media from the proceeding, based on the mental health underpinnings of civil-confinement cases.

State Supreme Court Justice Mark Powers stood by his ruling — made at Regan's initial appearance late last month — to keep the court open.

However, Powers granted Bayer's request to re-argue for closure at Regan's next appearance in February. The proceedings will remain open until the judge says otherwise, Powers noted.

The February appearance will include an update on doctors' examinations of Regan. A trial could be held as early as late spring.

Regan also must decide whether to have a jury hear the case or leave it to the judge himself.

One other issue is where the future proceedings will take place. Regan has the option to seek a trial in Saratoga County, because that's where the crime occurred, or have the case decided in Clinton County.

There has been no mention from the defense about moving the case.

Assistant Attorney General Joseph Muia is handling the case for the county.

Regan, formerly of Waterbury, Connecticut, was imprisoned for the Saratoga Springs attempted kidnapping, as well as the earlier conviction for a kidnapping in Connecticut in 1993.

The Saratoga Springs case drew attention because of its sensational nature: The victim was a national champion runner.

Regan grabbed Ferguson as she went to her car after practice at the school the night of the attempted abduction. 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, who arrested Regan within a few blocks of the crime scene.

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 in her case until 2004. 

He was free on $350,000 bail when he attacked Ferguson.

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