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Plea bargain reached in child sexual abuse case

A former teacher here in Tennessee started an after-school program for young boys who did not have a father figure in their lives. The program took place off school grounds. One of the participants in that program accused him of child sexual abuse. The man was charged with several sex crimes, and he recently entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors. 

Officials reported that the sexual abuse occurred between Jan. and Sept. 2011. At that time, the man was working at a Tennessee middle school. He then left that position and took another teaching job elsewhere. In May 2015, an investigation into the supposed victim's allegations began. The former teacher was arrested in Aug. 2015.

He was charged with two counts each of aggravated statutory rape, sexual battery by an authority figure, rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery. In a plea bargain worked out with prosecutors, the man pleaded guilty to two counts each of the first two charges. All counts of the other two crimes charged were dropped as part of the deal.

In return, he was sentenced to five years in prison but will only serve one full year. The remainder of his sentence will be carried out as supervised probation. Furthermore, he will be entered in the state's sex offender registry as a dangerous sex offender.

Whether to contest criminal charges all the way through to trial is often a strategic decision. In this case, the man and his criminal defense team came to the conclusion that a plea bargain was in his best interests, considering the severity of the child sexual abuse charges he was facing. Entering into it allowed him to reduce the penalties he would have faced if the matter had resulted in a finding of guilt after trial.

Source: theleafchronicle.com, "Former Clarksville teacher pleads guilty to sexual battery of student", Stephanie Ingersoll, July 29, 2016

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