A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Convicted child molester sentenced to life in prison; man brutalized very young girl ‘numerous times’


Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe followed the recommendation of Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders Tuesday and sentenced Christopher Michael Charles, 39, to Life In Prison for three counts of 1st Degree Sodomy of a child under the age of 12 years old.

Charles

Citing the offensive nature of the crimes and the overwhelming proof of Charles’ guilt Sanders declined to make a plea agreement with Charles, giving him the option of taking his chances with the judge or jury.

On December 30, 2017, Charles’ then-fiancee went to Florence Police and reported finding videos of Charles’ engaged in sodomy with her then-seven year old child on an electronic device belonging to Charles.

After determining the couple was actually living in Grant County, Kentucky, Florence Police contacted Kentucky State Police to investigate. The victim was interviewed by the Northern Kentucky Children’s Advocacy Center and disclosed being subjected to acts of sodomy at the hands of Charles on numerous occasions in both Kenton and Grant Counties.

The mother of the victim also turned over the illicit videos she discovered to Kentucky State Police.

Investigation by (now-retired) Kentucky State Police Detective Troy Brooks revealed three acts of Sodomy took place in Kenton County before Charles and the victim’s mother moved the family from Erlanger, Kentucky to Walton, Kentucky.

Two acts occurred at the family’s residence in Erlanger while the third occurred in the parking lot of a restaurant on Dixie Highway in the same city. The remainder of the crimes, including those during which Charles filmed himself with the child, are believed to have occurred in Grant County.

Detective Brooks arrested Charles in Covington, Kentucky on January 4, 2018.

Sanders

Charles was indicted by the Kenton County Grand Jury in March, 2018 for three counts of 1st Degree Sodomy (Child <12). Each offense carried a possible punishment of 20 to 50 years or Life in prison.

Facing a jury trial scheduled to start two days later, Charles pled guilty as charged on July 9, 2018, however, at his final sentencing on August 20, 2018, Charles fired his attorney and indicated to the judge that he wished to withdraw his guilty plea.

Charles was assigned a new attorney and his request to withdraw his guilty plea was scheduled for a hearing in September, 2018. After multiple continuances for a variety of reasons, the motion was eventually called for a hearing on January 15, 2019. At that time Charles abruptly withdrew his motion to withdraw his plea and told the judge he wanted to persist in his plea of guilty.

Charles’ attorney asked the judge to impose the minimum of 20 years in prison, noting Charles would have to serve 85 percent of his sentence and register for life as a sexual offender.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders argued “the Defendant has subjected this young child to a life sentence of mental torment and pain” noting the victim’s wounds may not be visible but they’re the kind which never heal. “For the rest of (the victim’s) life, (the victim) will live knowing the man who was supposed to be a father was (the victim’s) first sexual experience, and that’s just horrible,” said Sanders.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Summe noted Charles had two prior felony convictions for Assault and Cultivation of Marijuana as well as other misdemeanor charges.

The judge agreed the evidence of Charles’ guilt was overwhelming and said a jury was likely to impose a life sentence as well based upon what other juries have done in the past. The judge was particularly alarmed and offended the audacity it took for Charles to film his crimes, remarking that although he was not charged with distributing the videos, there was no telling what happens once those images were recorded and, if they were shared, the victim would have to relive the trauma for the rest of the victim’s life.

Sanders credited the victim’s mother for rushing to police upon discovering the horrifying videos for making a huge difference in the case.

“Video evidence is incredibly powerful, and in this case unbelievably shocking,” said Sanders, adding “This defendant would have fared no better with a jury. Pleading guilty and allowing the victim to avoid a trial, despite all the drama he created before sentencing, is the only positive thing for which I give him credit.”

Sanders also thanked Detective Brooks and KSP Detective Isaac Waters (who inherited the case upon Brooks’ retirement) for their efforts to obtain justice for the child victim. 

“These guys are both top-notch detectives and they, along with the victim’s mother, deserve all the credit for obtaining a maximum sentence,” said Sanders.

Charles still faces additional counts of 1st Degree Sodomy in Grant County as well as charges of Manufacturing Images Portraying a Sexual Performance by a Minor.

Under Kentucky law, a life sentence must run concurrent to any other sentence so any additional punishment Charles receives in Grant County will run concurrent to Kenton County.

Charles will be eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 20 years and must register for life as a sexual offender.

Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office


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