By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
A London man was sentenced to serve 18 years in prison for the sexual molestation of an 11-year-old child.
Michael Wayne Couch, 44, of 132 Stella Lane in Eubank, entered an Alford plea in December to one count of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree sodomy of a child. The incidents began in January 2009 and continued through December 2010. He was sentenced on January 17 to 18 years in prison on each count, although both sentences will run at the same time. The Alford plea does not admit any guilt on Couch’s behalf, but indicates that evidence in the case could result in a conviction should the case have gone to a jury trial.
Couch was indicted in 2012 on eight counts of sexual abuse and eight counts of sodomy. First-degree sodomy for a child under 12 years of age carries a 20 to 50 year or life sentence. First-degree sexual abuse of a child under 12 has a 5 to 10 year penalty.
Couch was also ordered to undergo a sexual evaluation assessment.
Another man charged with sexual abuse was sentenced on January 27.
William D. Thompson, 72, received a two-year sentence for first-degree sexual abuse on 10 different occasions between January 2010 and April 2012. The victim’s age was not released.
Thompson also entered an Alford plea to the charges against him. His attorney, Michael Brophy, said Thompson’s case was complicated by his inability to understand the penalties of the sexual abuse charge. Thompson has been incarcerated since his arrest on April 19, 2012, giving him just a few months away from completing the two-year sentence. Had he entered the plea earlier during the case, Thompson could have served only five months before being released on probation. Instead, he has remained in the Laurel County Detention Center nearly the full time of his sentence and is still held there, according to jail records.