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Man Pleads Guilty to Years-Long Sexual Abuse of Child

A man pleaded guilty this week to sexually abusing a child for a period of five years.

Keith Edward West, 43, entered his plea to three counts of first degree sodomy and two counts of first degree sexual abuse, all involving the same child who was under the age of 12 at the time.

Investigators said that the abuse happened while West would babysit during periods that the child's mother would be away.

In exchange for the guilty plea, the Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office is recommending a 20-year prison sentence.

"We'd prefer to put child molesters in prison forever but this spares a young child from testifying about the worst days of the child's life in a courtroom full of strangers," said Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders, in a statement. 

Sanders said that cases like West's require prosecutors to balance the child's mental health with the benefits of lengthier sentences.

"Under Kentucky law, even a life sentence would be eligible for parole in twenty years," he said.

Sanders said that the guilty plea avoids any potential for appeal and also requires West to register for life as a sexual offender upon release.

The child reported the crime to a counselor about a year after the last time West engaged in the abuse. The case was referred to the Northern Kentucky Children's Advocacy Center and then Ft. Mitchell Police.

The crimes took place between 2014 and 2019.

The child's mother cut ties with West in 2019, citing his drug use, Sanders's office said.

West is to be sentenced on November 24 by Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe.

-Staff report

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