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Guilty plea regarding sex case

From The Times Tribune

Robert Thomas Whitter III - KCDC

A Barbourville man who is facing several charges for allegedly distributing sexual material involving a minor accepted an agreement with prosecutors Thursday that will allow him a reduced sentence in exchange for his plea.

Robert T. Whitter III, 28, appeared in Knox Circuit Court for a final pretrial conference ahead of his scheduled Feb. 12 jury trial, where he entered a guilty plea to two counts of distributing matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor in exchange for the agreement with prosecutors. With that agreement, prosecutors offered three years in prison for each count — short of the five-year maximum for a Class D felony. Those sentences were recommended by prosecutors to be served concurrently — or at the same time — for a total of three years.

As part of the agreement, Whitter’s one remaining count of distributing matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor will be dismissed at his sentencing.

A formal sentencing has been set for March 22 at 11 a.m., where Judge Greg Lay will make a final ruling concerning Whitter’s punishment. At that time, a pre-sentence investigation report — which details the criminal behavior/background of a particular defendant — will be provided to the court for Judge Lay to review before making his ruling. The sentencing was pushed out a bit to allow for a sex offender assessment to be performed to determine how long Witter will be required to register as a sex offender upon release from prison. That assessment typically takes at least 45 days.

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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