GREENFIELD — A man facing 22 sexual assault charges pleaded guilty this week to just one of the counts he faced, with prosecutors dismissing the remaining charges.
Kevin Fisher, 45, 6711 Shelly St., Indianapolis, was serving jail time for an unrelated sex crime in January when a young boy came forward and told police the man held him down and forced him to participate in sex acts, according to court documents.
Fisher was charged with 22 felony counts related to child sexual abuse, including child molesting, vicarious sexual gratification and performing sexual conduct in the presence of a minor.
Citing concerns for the victim’s well-being, prosecutors offered Fisher a plea agreement in lieu of sending the case to trial, which would have required the boy to testify, officials said.
Fisher pleaded guilty this week in Hancock County Superior Court 1 to one Class C felony count of child molest. A judge ordered him to serve a year in jail followed by three years on probation as punishment for the crime. The maximum sentence for a Class C felony is eight years.
The victim’s mother took the stand Wednesday afternoon to tell the judge that, while she wished the punishment outlined in the plea deal could have been stricter, she knew the agreement was best for her son.
The victim told police Fisher assaulted him on several occasions when they were left alone together, court documents state. The boy said Fisher threatened to hurt him if he ever told anyone what happened, court documents state. He came forward only after Fisher was in jail and he was sure he couldn’t make good on the threat, police said.
Now, the boy suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and he regularly seeks help from counselors and psychiatrists, court documents state.
He struggles every day to put the abuse behind him, his mother told the court during a sentencing hearing Wednesday.
He suffers from hallucinations, often yelling at people who aren’t actually there to leave him alone or stop hurting him, she said. He’s afraid to ride the school bus in the morning because he fears Fisher will come find him, she said.
Having to face Fisher again and testify against him at trial would have been traumatizing, she said.
The boy’s allegations surfaced in January while Fisher was serving a four-year sentence on work release at Hancock County Community Corrections after pleading guilty to child solicitation and vicarious sexual gratification in 2013, which required him to register as a sex offender.
Fisher had been accused in that case of having a romantic relationship with a teenage girl; police found naked pictures of the teen on Fisher’s cellphone, court documents state. The girl told police her relationship with Fisher was consensual, but she was too young to consent under state law, officials said.
Fisher will remain registered as a sex offender after pleading guilty in the boy’s case, Prosecutor Brent Eaton said. Though no one in his office was pleased with having to dismiss so many charges, Eaton said he was glad they were able to offer some closure to the family.
“He plead guilty to what (crime) could be proven, and we saved the victim from having to testify,” Eaton said following the sentencing hearing.
Hancock County Court Commissioner Scott Sirk, who took the stand in Hancock County Superior Court 1 in Judge Terry Snow’s absence, told the defendant he should use his time in jail and on probation to better himself.
“From this point forward, … take steps to ensure this never happens again,” Sirk said.
Neither Fisher nor his attorney, Andrew Baldwin of Franklin, spoke during the sentencing hearing.