Dulin case hinges on defining extent of judge's probation terms

By James Tinley Register Staff

MILFORD - The second day of testimony at sex offender Robert J. Dulin's hearing on an alleged violation of probation ended before the defense could call its one and only witness: the judge whose terms of probation are being debated at Superior Court.

Dulin, 50, of 33 Weeping Willow Lane, was charged with violating the terms of his probation less than two months after he finished an 18-month prison sentence for having sex with a 17-year-old girl he coached in a youth basketball program.

Dulin was arrested after he refused to sign a sex-offender treatment agreement, on advice of his attorney, because his lawyer said it added conditions to his probation that were not set by a judge.

The case hinges on whether terms of probation set by a judge extend to the providers of court ordered treatment of sex offenders, the lawyers argue.

Assistant State's Attorney Maria Sous and her witnesses from the Office of Adult Probation and a sex-offender therapy program have asserted that conditions of treatment deemed necessary by providers can trump those ordered by a judge at sentencing.

Dulin's attorney, Hugh F. Keefe of New Haven, has said it is the judge who wears the robe and has power, not probation officers or treatment providers.

The testimony Wednesday resumed with Martina Kardol, regional supervisor for the private, nonprofit Center for the Treatment of Problem Sexual Behavior, which is part of The Connection Inc. The center is contracted by the state to treat sex offenders.

As part of Dulin's therapy as a sex offender, he was required by Kardol to sign an agreement that said he would not have contact with children under 16 - except his own children - and would submit to polygraph tests.

Dulin's refusal to sign the agreement resulted in his violation of probation arrest May 7.

Kardol testified that even though Judge John Cronan, who sentenced Dulin, explicitly said Dulin was not to be barred from having contact with minors and would not have to submit to polygraph tests, those orders do not apply to his treatment as a sex offender.

She said the conditions deemed necessary by the treatment provider for the protection of the public and treatment of sex offenders are paramount to a judge's order.

Keefe asked Kardol if she will follow Judge Eddie Rodriguez Jr.'s order, if at the end of the hearing Rodriguez decides Dulin shouldn't be restricted from access to minors or submit to polygraph tests. "Will you do what Judge Rodriguez orders? He's got the robe just like Judge Cronan had the robe. Will you follow that order?" Keefe asked.

Kardol said the court order will be followed, but if the court order runs contrary to terms of treatment deemed necessary, Dulin would be dropped from treatment and referred back to the Office of Adult Probation.

Cronan is the only witness the defense plans to call when the hearing resumes Sept. 8, Keefe told Rodriguez, who is handling Dulin's violation of probation case.