November 18, 2013

72-year-old man pleads to sex abuse

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Nearly 19 months after he was jailed on sex abuse charges, a Laurel man settled his case by entering a guilty plea to one of the charges.

William R. Thompson, 72, stood before Laurel Circuit Judge Greg Lay and entered the plea Tuesday morning, agreeing to serve two years in prison on one charge of first-degree sexual abuse. He must now undergo a sexual offender evaluation, which must be completed before his sentencing date of Jan. 27.

But Thompson’s plea has not come without its share of challenges.

Michael Brophy, Thompson’s attorney, said Thompson had been incarcerated over a year and a half on charges of first-degree sexual abuse. Jail records indicate Thompson was arrested and housed in the Laurel County Detention Center since April 19, 2012 under a $250,000 cash bond. He was indicted on 10 counts of first-degree sexual abuse by a Laurel grand jury in June 2012.

Brophy said the case was complicated because several plea offers had been made to Thompson since his incarceration. In fact, Thompson once tried to enter a plea agreement in Laurel Circuit Court but was denied because Brophy said Thompson had problems realizing the full extent of the plea agreement.

“He’s elderly and sometimes he doesn’t understand,” Brophy said.

Thompson is accused of subjecting another person to “sexual contact through the use of forcible compulsion” at least 10 different occasions  between Jan. 2010 through April 2012. The indictment does not list the age of the victim.

According to Brophy, Thompson maintains his innocence but entered an Alford Plea before Judge Greg Lay on Tuesday. An Alford Plea maintains the innocence of the victim but supports the belief that enough evidence exists to result in a conviction should the case be tried by a jury.

But had the case been resolved earlier, chances are Thompson would already have served his time and would be free. With the two-year sentence, Thompson would only have to serve 20 percent, giving him a total of nearly five months in jail. However, he now only lacks five months since his arrest date to wind down two years of imprisonment.

“If we could have gotten a plea agreement earlier, he would have been free by now,” Brophy said.