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Cane Madden: News outlets denied access to hearing for repeated sexual assault suspect

Published: Jun. 21, 2021 at 1:05 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 5:28 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville judge ruled Monday that any hearings in the ongoing case of Cane Madden will remain closed to the media.

Madden is accused in multiple violent crimes, but after each, was ruled incompetent to stand trial, and eventually set free to roam the streets.

A loophole in Kentucky state law kept Madden from being held responsible for his alleged attacks, but in April, that all changed. Lawmakers said it was in part because of WAVE 3 News’ investigation into the case.

At the time of his alleged attacks -- one on a female friend and another on an 8-year-old girl -- if suspects were found incompetent to stand trial, and deemed unable to change after treatment, they couldn’t be locked up or even forced to get help.

Monday, Judge Annie O’Connell ruled on another local news outlet’s request to open Madden’s hearing to media. She said House Bill 310 -- signed in to law on April 1 to give the state authority to call a hearing to discuss involuntary commitment in a case like Madden’s -- is so new that the courts are still figuring out how to apply it. O’Connell denied the media outlet’s request, meaning any hearings and documents related to Madden’s case will be kept private.

In March, one of Madden’s alleged victims told WAVE 3 News what happened when she was looking for a safe place to stay in 2017. Latoya Smith thought she was getting help from her friend Madden, but hours later, she said he attacked her.

“I woke up with him on top of me biting me,” Smith said in March. “And you know, making threats and stuff, and he bit my eye off.”

Smith said Madden tried to rape her. At the hospital, Smith said nurses told her Madden swallowed a chunk of her face.

Madden was found incompetent to stand trial in that case, and eventually was released from custody. Months later, he struck again, this time hitting an 8-year-old girl in the head with a shovel, raping her and stealing her iPad.

“If y’all had done something back then when it happened to me, maybe it wouldn’t have happened to her,” Smith said.

In both cases, O’Connell was the judge who ruled Madden incompetent for trial.

Monday, O’Connell said that for now, the proceedings will be kept confidential, but in the future, there may be a point to share with the public.

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