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Sex offender sentenced to three years in prison

“Why did you do it?”

An anguished mother went to court Wednesday and faced the man who admitted having inappropriate sexual contact with her 15-year-old daughter.

William H. Bailey, 43, of 609 R Buckhorn St., Ironton, pleaded guilty in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court to one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Judge Charles Cooper sentenced him to three years in prison and ordered him to register as a sex offender for the next 25 years.

Cooper also issued a restraining order; Bailey must never go around his victim again.

The victim’s mother told the court Bailey had been a friend of the family for more than two decades and her children thought of him as an uncle. Then this happened.

“You’ve known her since she was a baby,” the mother said to Bailey.

She said her daughter is now in counseling.

“I want to let him know how hurt… words can’t explain how hurt I am, what we’re going through,” the woman said.

Cooper asked the mother if she thought the three-year sentence was a suitable punishment for the crime.

He explained that state law allows of maximum sentence of five years for this crime but, he said, “I don’t take any pleasure in forcing a child to have to come to court and testify and will knock a year or two off if they (the perpetrator) plead guilty and don’t make the child testify. But I do like to know how the victim feels,” Cooper explained.

“I didn’t want to have to bring my daughter in here,” the woman said, her voice shaking.

When Cooper asked Bailey if he had anything to say before sentencing, Bailey replied, “I’m just ashamed.”

Cooper denied a request for a brief furlough before Bailey is sent to prison.