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Man Sentenced to Life for Sexual Abuse of 7-Year Old

A man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after being convicted of molesting a 7-year old girl.
Christopher Michael Charles, 39, appeared in Kenton Circuit Court before Judge Patricia Summe, who followed the sentencing recommendation of Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders.
In December of 2017, Charles's then-fiancee, Sanders said, contacted the Florence Police after finding videos of Charles engaged in sodomy with her then-7-year old child. The videos were on an electronic device owned by Charles.
Kentucky State Police took over the investigation after determining that the couple lived in Grant County. In an interview with the Northern Kentucky Children's Advocacy Center, the child said that the acts of sodomy took place at multiple locations in Grant and Kenton counties.
Two acts took place at a family home in Erlanger while another took place in a restaurant parking lot in that city, Sanders said. The remainder of the crimes took place in Grant County.
Charles was arrested a year ago in Covington and indicted in March last year on three counts of first degree sodomy involving a child under 12. Charles pleaded guilty last July, but two days before his sentencing, an attorney told the judge that Charles wished to withdraw that plea. Charles received a new attorney. After multiple continuances, Charles returned to court on January 15 and said that he would withdraw his motion to change his plea.
Instead, he would plead guilty.
Charles, through his attorney, asked for the minimum sentence of 20 years in prison, which would require that he serve at least 85 percent of it and the register for life as a sex offender.
Sanders argued that Charles subjected the child "to a life sentence of mental torment and pain."
"For the rest of (the victim)'s life, (the victim) will live knowing the man who was supposed to be a father was (the victim)'s first sexual experience, and that's just horrible," Sanders said.
Judge Summe noted Charles's previous felony convictions for assault and cultivation of marijuana, along with other misdemeanor charges. She said that a jury was likely to impose a life sentence as well based on what other juries have done in the past.
Sanders credited the victim's mother for rushing to police upon discovering the videos for making a huge difference in the case.
" Video evidence is incredibly powerful, and in this case unbelievably shocking," said Sanders. "This defendant would have fared no better with a jury. Pleading guilty and allowing the victim to avoid a trial, despite all the drama he created before sentencing, is the only positive thing for which I give him credit."
Charles still faces additional counts of first degree sodomy in Grant County as well as charges of manufacturing images portraying a sexual performance by a minor.
Under Kentucky law, a life sentence must run concurrent to any other sentence so any additional punishment Charles receives in Grant County will run concurrent to Kenton County.
Charles will be eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 20 years and must register for life as a sexual offender.
-Staff report