Teen pleads guilty to sexual battery
Nov. 22—A 19-year-old defendant pled guilty to two counts of sexual battery against a child under the age of 16 in Whitfield Superior Court on Friday, Nov. 17.
Conasauga Judicial Circuit Judge Cindy Morris accepted a recommendation from the State and sentenced Luke Pauley to 10 years for the offenses — with the first three years to be served in prison and the remainder on probation.
Morris noted that the defendant faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each count.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped three additional felony charges against Pauley — one count of aggravated sexual battery and two counts of child molestation.
The age of the victim in the case was not specified during Friday’s proceedings.
Public defender Carter Thomas represented Pauley.
“As part of the sentence, he will abide by the negotiated conditions of probation for sex offenders,” Conasauga Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Mark Higgins said.
Higgins said the defendant will also have to undergo a mental health evaluation and register as a sex offender once released from incarceration.
Neither the victim or any family members of the victim addressed the court. But Higgins said they were supportive of the disposition.
Pauley is also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service as part of the sentence.