By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer
PAINT LICK —
A Paint Lick man who used Facebook to contact a 13-year-old girl pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree sexual abuse.
Christopher J. Elliott, 25, was charged July 4 after a Berea officer stopped his vehicle in Berea’s Dixie Park subdivision. The girl was in his vehicle, according to the BPD.
“Officers learned that the two had communicated on Facebook and made plans for the juvenile to leave her home and meet Mr. Elliott in the early morning hours,” BPD spokesperson Sgt. Jake Reed said in a news release.
Elliott, who was scheduled to go to trial Monday morning, pleaded guilty to first-degree sex abuse and unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith recommended a sentence of three years for each charge, to run concurrently for a total of three years.
Elliott will not be eligible for parole until he serves 85 percent of his sentence.
Elliott potentially faced a stiffer sentence because he originally was indicted as a second-degree persistent felony offender, meaning he had one prior felony conviction on his record. The two Class D felonies, which carry a penalty of one to five years in prison, would have been enhanced to Class C felonies with sentences of five to 10 years in prison.
However, the PFO was dismissed because a recent Kentucky Supreme Court ruling determined that a person is not a second-degree persistent felony offender if he was under a pretrial diversion for the first felony at the time of the second offense.
The first felony’s sentence was not imposed at the time of the subsequent offense, the court determined.
Elliott was under a pretrial diversion at the time of his arrest, Smith said.
Clouse set Elliott’s sentencing for 9 a.m. May 24. After Elliott completes his prison term, he is required to provide information to the state’s sex offender registry, and he is subject to a five-year period of conditional release.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@