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25 year sentence handed down to Woodbine man charged with sexual offenses

From The Times Tribune -

James LaForest - WCDC

A Woodbine man whose sentencing has been delayed multiple times was sentenced Monday July 6, 2020 to 25 years in prison in Whitley County Circuit Court.

James LaForest was set to be sentenced in December 2019, but it was delayed when the court learned that LaForest had not been pre-evaluated before being placed on the state’s sex offender registry. His sentencing was delayed again July 2, when LaForest requested more time to speak with his attorney.

LaForest was arrested in April 2017 following an investigation by Kentucky State Police into allegations made by an 8-year-old child that LaForest had subjected the child to sexual abuse. A recorded confession by LaForest was later obtained, according to an arrest citation.

After rejecting a plea deal offer in April 2019, LaForest agreed to a plea deal in October 2019. LaForest agreed to a 25-year sentence. Without a plea deal, LaForest could have faced anywhere from 85 years to life in prison since the victim was under the age of 12.

As part of the plea deal, LaForest pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree sodomy of victim under 12 years of age, one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a victim under age 12 years old and one count of incest with victim under the age of 12.

LaForest will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least 85 percent of his sentence or 20 years.

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