Defendant tells judge he assaulted young girl

A Greenfield man who was recently acquitted of child molest by a Hancock County jury pleaded guilty Tuesday to the same charge in a separate case, telling a judge through tears how he sexually assaulted a young girl.

Two girls in as many months accused Ryan Nutter, 30, 874 S. Sycamore Drive, of assault, with both girls making similar allegations against the man, according to court documents.

Nutter was found not guilty at the end of a two-day trial in July that focused on the first girl’s case. He accepted a plea agreement from prosecutors this week in the second victim’s case and offered a detailed account of the assault in open court Tuesday, when he pleaded guilty to two counts of child molesting as Level 4 felonies. Nutter originally was charged with six felony counts of child molesting.

He told Hancock Circuit Court Judge Richard Culver he touched the girl inappropriately on several occasions and forced the girl to touch him as well. When he finished making his statement, he hung his head and cried.

Nutter was first arrested in February after calling 911 wanting to speak to an officer about allegations being made against him, court records state.

A girl had told some friends Nutter forced her to touch him inappropriately while they were alone together, records state; she later relayed the claims to police, who arrested Nutter.

He was arrested again in April after Hancock County Sheriff’s Department officials received a tip he might have harmed another young girl, records state.

The victim in the second case told investigators Nutter touched her inappropriately when she was sleeping overnight at his house. The abuse continued for several years, she said.

“There was a time when Ryan told her … he prayed every night that she would forgive him,” court documents state.

The girl said Nutter ordered her not to tell anyone what happened, and she was scared to report the crime to an adult, court documents state.

Prosecutors took the first case to trial and spent two days attempting to convince jurors that Nutter repeatedly took advantage of the girl and kept her from reporting the abuse by monitoring the text messages she exchanged with friends.

Nutter’s defense attorney, on the other hand, argued the teen made up the story to garner sympathy from a boyfriend who was breaking up with her.

Jurors found Nutter not guilty of one count of child molest, a Class C felony, at the conclusion of that case.

The plea agreement Nutter accepted Tuesday to end the second case calls for him to spend 12 years on probation, with the first four years being spent on house arrest, prosecutors said. Nutter also would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The judge questioned the proposed sentence, asking attorneys on both sides of the case why he should allow Nutter to be placed in a low-security Hancock County Community Corrections program when another man — Glendal Yates, 62, of Greenfield — was sent to prison after pleading guilty to the same charge earlier this week.

Culver called the attorneys into a private conference to discuss the proposed sentence, then asked Nutter to testify about his behavior in open court.

Nutter returns to court for sentencing next month.

At a glance

Ryan Nutter, 30, 874 S. Sycamore Drive, Greenfield, agreed Tuesday to plead guilty to two Level 4 felony counts of child molest, as part of a deal with prosecutors. He returns to Hancock Circuit Court Sept. 22 for sentencing. The proceedings are open to the public.

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