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A Campbellsville man has pleaded guilty to sodomizing and abusing a child and could spend 23 years in prison for his crimes.
In October, Charles Ray Shepperson, 39, of 100 Layton Drive, was indicted by a Taylor County grand jury and charged with two counts of a sex-related crime and two counts each of first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse of a child younger than 12.
According to the indictment, Shepperson allegedly forced a child to have sexual contact with him on at least two occasions between May and June 2013.
Campbellsville Police Detective Ben Riggs investigated.
Shepperson was arrested and lodged at the Taylor County Detention Center on Oct. 3 and has been there since.
On Tuesday, Shepperson appeared before Taylor Circuit Court Judge Dan Kelly and entered an Alford plea to the sex-related charges, two counts of first-degree sodomy and two counts of first-degree criminal abuse of a child younger than 12.
With an Alford plea, a defendant recognizes that the court has enough evidence to convict, though the defendant maintains his or her innocence. The court treats an Alford plea the same way as a guilty plea.
In exchange for the plea, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney John Miller, the prosecutor in the case, has recommended that Shepperson be sentenced to serve an 18-year prison sentence on the sodomy charge, followed by a five-year sentence on the other charges.
The recommendation states that Shepperson would be required to serve at least 85 percent of the 18-year sentence and at least 20 percent of the five-year sentence before being eligible for parole, for a total of a little more than 16 years.
Miller also recommended that Shepperson be ordered to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison, along with completing sex offender treatment and not having contact with his victim.
Formal sentencing has been set for Tuesday, Sept. 16.
Miller declined to comment on the case until Shepperson is sentenced.
C.B. Bates of the Department of Public Advocacy in Columbia, who is representing Shepperson, did not return a request for comment before press time.
If convicted by a jury, Shepperson could have been sentenced to as much as life in prison.
Court records also list Shepperson's address as 55 Bambi Drive in Campbellsville.