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Man enters guilty plea in child sex abuse case

A man who encouraged a sexual liaison between his girlfriend and his pubescent son will spend four years in prison for that crime.

Jesse Scarberry, 33, of 86 Private Drive 8700, Proctorville, entered an Alford plea of guilty Wednesday to one count of complicity to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

An Alford plea differs from a standard guilty plea in that the defendant maintains a certain level of innocence.

“What reason do you have for pleading guilty if you maintain you are innocent?” Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper asked.

Scarberry hesitated and after consulting with his attorney, David Reid Dillon, Dillon replied on Scarberry’s behalf, “Even though Mr. Scarberry has doubts concerning his guilt he believes this is in his best interest, given the likelihood and possibility of a conviction at trial and suffering a more serious sentence if he did (go to trial),” Dillon said.

Cooper accepted the Alford plea but asked for a statement of facts regarding the case: What happened and why.

“The codefendant was Mr. Scarberry’s girlfriend,” Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr., explained. “The girlfriend, at Mr. Scarberry’s request, had sexual intercourse with the defendant’s son. He’s 13 years old, and he (Scarberry) admitted that.” Collier said Scarberry had told authorities he had wanted to teach his son how to have sex and this was the way in which he choose to impart the knowledge.

The codefendant, Virginia McCoy, 27, of the same address, pleaded guilty last week to one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Cooper sentenced her to three years in prison.

The child now lives with grandparents.