Plea Deal Will Spare Child Molestation Victims From Testifying
By Mike Perleberg
Robert Harden III
(Ripley County, Ind.) – A plea deal has been reached for a Ripley County teen charged with molesting children at an in-home day care.
Robert Harden III was in court on Friday, September 1 to plead guilty to two counts of Child Molesting (level 3 felony).
Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel said the plea deal is in the best interest of the case, the victims, and their families. Last month, Hertel expressed the possibility of dismissing the case against Harden after the judge ruled that the child victims would have to testify if the case went to jury trial.
The plea deal will have Harden serve 11 years in prison and seven years on probation. He surrenders his right to appeal. The prosecutor said the plea deal was agreeable to the victims’ parents.
Judge Ryan King scheduled a formal sentencing for October 16. The parents of the victims will be given the opportunity to address Harden at that hearing, said King.