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Prosecutor vows to protect children

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

A Huntington man pleaded guilty to a Level 4 felony charge of child molesting on Monday and was sentenced to seven years, according to court records.

Michael Lee Spears, 52, last known address 812 Etna Ave. will serve four years in prison and three years on probation, according to the sentencing order.

The victim was under the age of 14.

Chief deputy prosecuting attorney Jeremy Nix said the State of Indiana requested that the judge impose the maximum penalty laid out in the plea agreement, given the circumstances.

“It always creates a difficult family situation when a trusted person abuses the trust given to them over a child,” Nix said following the conviction. “However, this office is committed to protecting the most vulnerable members of our community.”

The maximum sentence according to the plea agreement called for a maximum of five years in prison and two years in jail.

Spears admitted to inappropriately touching the victim over the course of a year when other people would leave the room, according to police reports.

The victim reportedly told police that she would pull away from Spears to make him stop, but she said she never said anything to him because she was afraid he would do something to her.

Police say Spears initially denied the allegations, saying any inappropriate touching that occurred was accidental or while he was trying to hug her. He later told police he had touched her inappropriately before, calling the act “mindless and describing it as “an insane moment,” according to police reports.

The Department of Child Services (DCS) notified law enforcement about the case, which lead to the investigation.

DCS has provided measures to protect the victim, according to police reports.

The incident occured in December of 2018, according to court records.

Level 4 felony charges carry a possible sentence between two and 12 years in prison, with the advisory sentence being six years, according to Indiana Code.