McGuire pleads guilty to Child Molesting charge

Wanda English Burnett

Justin McGuire, 25, of Madison, pled guilty to Child Molesting, a Class B felony on Friday, May 29. McGuire’s plea of guilty came just four days before he was scheduled to go to trial for this crime in the Ripley Circuit Court, according to Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel.

In a press release from the prosecutor’s office it noted that McGuire committed the crime against a then nine-year-old relative. This occurred at a residence on Old Michigan Road in Ripley County in January of 2004. The victim did not tell anyone until the summer of 2007 when she told her mother at their Florida residence.

Detective Tom Baxter of the Indiana State Police, was assigned to investigate the case and worked in conjunction with the authorities in Port Orange, FL, before criminal charges were eventually filed in Ripley County in 2007.

Questions of McGuire’s competency were raised by defense counsel and attempts to suppress his statements to the Indiana State Police were litigated over the past one and a half years. After appointing and hearing from a psychologist and psychiatrist, the court decided that McGuire was competent to stand trial for his actions. In addition to finding McGuire competent, none of McGuire’s statements to the State Police were suppressed.

Prosecuting Attorney Ric Hertel noted that he was pleased with the recent developments in the case, saying it was an out of the ordinary change since the trial was so close and the jury had already been called. “It is a relief that the victim does not have to come to Ripley County and be subjected to the rigors of a trial and intense cross examination of the intimate details of the crime,” he noted.

The prosecutor noted that when a defendant pleads guilty to what they were originally charged with, it is a tremendous burden lifted from the victim’s shoulders to not have to testify in open court. He further commented that in this case the victim did have to endure a long process waiting to see what would transpire, but the end result brought relief to her. Just shortly after the guilty plea was entered, the prosecutor shared the news with the Osgood Journal, saying, “It is a tremendous victory for the victim in this case.”

McGurie will be sentenced on July 16 in Ripley County Circuit Court where he will face a range of imprisonment from 6-20 years.