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As the result of a plea agreement, a 72-year-old Bedford County man now stands convicted of making indecent proposals to an 11-year-old girl.
Charles Langley entered an Alford plea in Bedford County Circuit Court Friday to three felony counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor. An Alford plea means that Langley still maintains that he is innocent, but recognizes that there is enough evidence against him that he may be convicted if the case goes to trial.
In accordance with the agreement, Judge James Updike sentenced Langley to three years in prison for each charge, suspended after serving 90 days. The sentences are concurrent, giving Langley a total active sentence of 90 days. He gets credit for the 35 days that he was incarcerated prior to trial.
Once he’s out of jail, he has to be on good behavior for five years, 18 months of that time under supervised probation. He also has to undergo sex offender evaluation and undergo, and pay for, any treatment that that evaluation calls for. Furthermore, he is barred from having any direct contact with any minor and must register as a violent sex offender. Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Krantz said that the violent sex offender status is due to the age of his victim.
Krantz said that this was a tough case. There was no physical evidence, but the victim made a credible witness who held up on the witness stand during a preliminary hearing. Krantz didn’t want to have to put her on the stand during a trial where she would be vigorously cross examined.
“Obviously, my client was cognizant of the risk of trial,” said Carter Garrett, Langley’s defense attorney.
Krantz described the victim as “an excellent little witness.” He said that this is why the defendant was willing to make a plea.
According to Krantz, Langley probably would not have gotten a longer sentence had he taken the case to trial. The sentence agreed to was within what the sentencing guidelines would have shown for Langley. He also said that the victim’s family was supportive of the decision to accept the plea agreement.
“They were not opposed to this resolution,” he said.