Man gets 25-year sentence

GREENFIELD — A Greenfield man will serve 25 years in prison after admitting to sexual assault charges dating back more than 20 years.

Jerry W. Privett Jr., 47, pleaded guilty to two Class A felony charges of child molesting this week in Hancock Circuit Court after accepting a plea deal from prosecutors that closed three separate child molesting cases. He was sentenced to serve 25 years in an Indiana Department for Corrections facility, a judge said.

Privett was arrested in September after a girl told her high school counselor and later the Department of Child Services that Privett had assaulted her.

News of the arrest led two grown women to come forward and say they faced the same abuse from Privett, and prosecutors brought further charges against him in October.

In all, Privett faced three Class A felony charges and one Class C felony charge; the Class C felony and one Class A felony were dismissed as part of the agreement, according to court records.

Privett’s abuse ranged from fondling to sex, the victims told investigators.

The first girl who came forward told police Privett sexually assaulted her repeatedly from 2009 to 2015, court document state. She was a young girl when the abuse began, court documents state.

The other victims said Privett had molested them between 1990 and 1995. One woman said the abuse started when she was 4; Privett was her 20-year-old babysitter.

In a letter to the court, which was read aloud during the sentencing hearing by Chief Deputy Prosecutor Marie Castetter, one of Privett’s victims called him “a monster who doesn’t deserve to see the light of day.”

“You made me feel useless, like a doll you could just throw around,” the victim wrote. “I am safe now. I won’t let you hurt me anymore.”

Judge Richard Culver applauded the plea agreement because it likely gave Privett’s victims peace of mind, he said.

Even if Privett had been found guilty at the conclusion of a jury trial, if would not have forced him to admit what he had done, Culver said; the plea agreement the defendant accepted forced him to take responsibility for his crimes and hopefully offered some peace for the victims.

Privett did not speak during the hearing.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.