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Resident receives probation in sex abuse case

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By Calen McKinney

 

A Campbellsville man has been sentenced to probation and ordered to register as a sex offender after sexually abusing two young children.

Johnny Everett Hunt, 52, of 130 Clara Lane, was indicted and charged last June by a Taylor County grand jury. Hunt was charged with nine counts of first-degree sexual abuse of victims younger than 12.

According to the indictment, Hunt allegedly forced two juveniles to have sexual contact with him, one on four occasions and the other on five, each happening between February and September 2011.

Hunt appeared in Taylor Circuit Court last November before Judge Dan Kelly and entered a guilty plea to two of the counts. The remaining seven were dismissed.

According to court records, the plea agreement was reached during a mediation hearing between Commonwealth's Attorney Shelly Miller, who prosecuted the case against Hunt, and Hunt's attorney, Todd Spalding of Lebanon.

On Tuesday, Hunt appeared before Kelly for sentencing. Hunt was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and register as a sex offender.

At press time, Miller hadn't returned a request for comment on the sentence and Spalding couldn't be reached for comment.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney John Miller, who was also involved with prosecuting Hunt, said the case was resolved with agreement from the victims, the victims' families and law enforcement officials.

And by settling the case, Miller said, the prosecutor's office was able to accomplish one of its primary goals, which is to make sure defendants register as a sex offender.

" ... So as to protect the public in the future," Miller said.

While Hunt's case was resolved with a probation sentence, other cases result in prison sentences.

"At first blush, it might be difficult to understand how the results could be so different. However, the dynamics of each case is different and the Commonwealth has to analyze each case on its merits," he stated in an emailed response.

"In addition, in cases such as these, having a trial may be more difficult on one victim than another. The Commonwealth is always concerned about re-vicitimizing the victim. The Commonwealth has the final decision as to how the case is resolved, but one primary concern is the well-being of the victim.

"The Commonwealth does not intend to resolve a case more leniently than a victim desires, but at times will resolve cases in order to protect the victim and promote the victim's overall health if it can secure other satisfactory safeguards, such as a registry requirement for the defendant."

If convicted by a jury, Hunt could have been sentenced to as much as 90 years in prison.

Kentucky State Police Detective Ricky Brooks investigated the case against Hunt.

Court records also list Hunt's address as 548 Timothy Trail in Campbellsville.