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Child molester enters guilty plea, avoids trial
by Debbie Lurie-Smith
Nov 22, 2013 | 2590 views | 0 0 comments | 67 67 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A case slated for trial later this month was settled in Jones County Superior Court last week with a guilty plea.

Clifford James Wheat pled guilty to three counts of child molestation Nov. 14 and received 20 years each, for three counts of child molestation. Two counts will run consecutively and one concurrent for a total of 40 years. The first 12 years are to be served in confinement. The remainder of his sentence may be served on probation but will be served under sex offender conditions.

Wheat was 26 when he was arrested on child molestation charges Jan. 8 and was indicted on the charges in February.

His indictment included five counts of child molestation and two counts of aggravated child molestation. As part of the plea negotiation, all but three counts of child molestation were dismissed.

Assistant District Attorney Dawn Baskin told the court that Wheat was arrested after one of his victims told her mother that she had been touched inappropriately. The victim was a young child and was taken to the Crescent House for examination.

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