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Laurel man found guilty of child sex charges

From The Times Tribune

Robert E. Proffitt - LCDC

Jurors found Robert E. Proffitt, 69, guilty of two counts of first-degree rape in connection to several incidents in which Proffitt engaged in sexual intercourse with a child who was under the age of 12 years old at the time.

He was found not guilty on a lone count of first-degree sexual abuse. The jury delivered the verdict to Judge Greg Lay in Laurel Circuit Court at approximately 7 p.m. Monday January 14, 2019.

After issuing the verdict, jurors returned to deliberations to determine Proffitt’s sentencing, where they met for approximately 10 minutes before returning to the courtroom. First-degree rape is listed as a Class B felony, but is enhanced to a Class A felony if the victim is under 12 years of age, making the potential punishment 20 to 50 years in prison. T

The jury recommended the minimum of 20 years for each count, also recommending that each sentence be served consecutively — or one sentence after the other — for a total of 40 years.

A formal sentencing has been set for Feb. 25 at 11 a.m., where Judge Lay will make a final ruling concerning Proffitt’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 Lay to review before making his ruling.

Monday’s trial was the second set in the case, with the first being continued in September 2018 the day before the trial was scheduled to begin. That continuance came by way of an agreed order between Proffitt’s attorney, Kara Ottis, and prosecutors due to the discovery of additional medical records relating to the victim.

Proffitt was initially indicted in October 2017 on four counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse with a child under the age of 12. The alleged incidents occurred over a time span of more than two years between March 2015 and August 2017.

He was arrested following the indictment and was jailed in the Laurel County Correctional Center. Proffitt was again named in a separate, one-count indictment in March 2018 on charges of first-degree rape. At that time, prosecutors said that the indictment was not a superseding indictment and were new charges filed following further information that had been revealed during a witness interview.

A trial for the charges in the second indictment has been continued and a status hearing has been set for the same day and time as his sentencing date. Steele said the separate trial is necessary to allow for a fair trial with a new jury panel that doesn’t have prior knowledge of either case.

Proffitt currently remains jailed in the Laurel County Correctional Facility.

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