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Barbourville man awaits sentencing on charges of distributing sexual material involving a minor

From The Times Tribune -

Robert T. Whitter, III - KCDC

The sentencing for a Barbourville man who pleaded guilty to several counts of distributing sexual material involving a minor was set to take place Friday, with the man facing a potential for three years in prison as part of an agreement with prosecutors, but the sentencing has been delayed due to a lacking report.


Robert T. Whitter, III, 28, appeared in Knox Circuit Court for formal sentencing Friday concerning two counts of distributing matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, which he entered a guilty plea to in January in exchange for a lesser sentence. However, Judge Greg Lay said he could not continue with the sentencing because the court still had yet to receive a report regarding Whitter’s sex offender evaluation, a document that assesses how long a person convicted of a sexual-related crime must register as a sex offender.


Prosecutors informed the court that they had spoken with the agency that performs those evaluations and that a report is expected to be returned sometime next week. For that reason, the sentencing was moved, with a new date now set for April 10 at 9 a.m.


At that time, Judge Lay will review the sex offender assessment and a pre-sentence investigation report—which details the criminal behavior/background of a particular defendant—to help inform his ruling concerning Whitter’s punishment. If Judge Lay decides to follow the recommendations set forth by prosecutors as part of their plea agreement with Whitter, then he could receive three years for each count to be served concurrently—or at the same time—for a total of three years.


He was initially charged with three counts of distributing matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, but one count is expected to be dismissed at sentencing, per the agreement.


Whitter was arrested Feb. 28, 2018, following an undercover investigation by the Internet Crimes Against Children and Kentucky State Police Electronic Crimes Branch discovered that he had allegedly uploaded images of child sexual exploitation online. A search warrant was executed at Whitter’s residence and equipment believed to be used to facilitate the crime was seized.


He posted bond following his initial arrest, but was arrested again in July 2018 after being indicted and formally charged on his original charges.


Whitter currently remains jailed in the Knox County Detention Center.

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