A 31-year-old Maryland man will serve a 12-year prison term in connection with a third-degree sex offense charge. The man, who has previous convictions for sex offenses in Texas, will only serve part of his 20-year total sentence, as eight years of that term have been suspended in accordance with a plea agreement. The defendant apparently pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his relationship with a teenage girl.
The significant sentence was handed down in December despite the protests of the girl who had allegedly been the man’s victim. Courtroom records show that the girl, now 16 years old, told officials that the man was not a bad person, but instead he intended to seek a relationship with her that was meaningful. The pair had conceived a child when the victim was just 15 years old, and they intended to get married.
The judge in the case admitted that the serious sentence was prompted, in part, by the man’s previous conviction for second-degree rape of a 14-year-old in 2005. The man had also been in legal hot water because he failed to register as a sex offender. The judge noted that he would have likely handed down a stricter sentence if a plea agreement had not been reached. Further, the judge accused the man of being a “predator” because of his previous conviction for child sexual abuse.
The man was reportedly sorrowful at the time of the sentencing, expressing his desire to spend time with his daughter. Further, the mother of his child seemed distraught about the situation. After the man is released, he will serve a five-year supervised probation term, and he will still be required to register as a sex offender.
Official reports show that the judge in this case might have been more strict if criminal defense attorneys did not seek a plea agreement. By pleading guilty, the man was able to avoid the serious consequences that could have come along with a jury trial. Although guilty pleas are useful in some situations, they are not beneficial for all criminal defendants. Those facing sex crimes allegations should consult their qualified attorney before making any decision about their individual pleas.
Source: The Bay Net, “‘Predator’ gets 12-year sentence for sex offense” Dick Myers, Dec. 22, 2013