A Springfield babysitter will spend a month in jail after pleading guilty to child molestation. Police say Joseph Presley admitted to molesting an eight-year-old boy on two separate occasions.
Greene County Judge Calvin Holden sentenced Presley last week, and now Presley is in the Greene County Jail. But he won’t be there for long. He was given a 30-day ‘shock’ sentence, and then he’ll be on probation for five years.
“That’s is simply not enough, that doesn’t deter people from doing this sort of crime against children,” said Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Barbara Brown-Johnson.
She says the sentencing took her by surprise.
Children are taken to the Child Advocacy Center after they become victims of a sex crime, and they speak with investigators about what happened.
“I just can’t help but think that the victim’s needs were not met with this outcome,” she said.
According to court documents, Presley molested the boy on two occasions while he was babysitting the child at his own house, once when the boy was 8 and again when he was 9. The boy told investigators that when he tried to call his mother on the home phone, Presley took the phone away and sent the child to bed.
Dee Wampler is Presley’s defense attorney. He says the 23-year-old is a first-time offender who is active in his church. Wampler says in this case, prison was not the answer.
“I’m sure a lot of the public is going to say, ‘Lock him up and throw away the key. And they’re in favor of strong law enforcement, as long as the law applies to the other fella. And not to their child,” said Wampler.
He says Presley will likely have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, which is a punishment in itself.
“Do we really want to take a boy that’s not institutionalized, that has not been in prison before, and put him in prison with some real sex molesters, and some real rapists? So that he can really learn the trade? Is that what we want?” asks Wampler.
He says Presley is remorseful and is in need of counselling, especially because Presley was molested when he was a child.
“It’s not to say it justifies it, but it’s an explanation probably as to why it happened,” Wampler said.
But Brown-Johnson says that’s no reason to go easy on a sex offender.
“You have to deal with the child victim in from of you, and saying that a perpetrator should get a lesser sentence because of their perpetration, when they’re an adult, that makes no sense whatsoever,” she said.
Presley pleaded guilty to a class B felony, that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Judge Holden originally sentenced Presley to ten years in prison, but now he will not go to prison at all, unless he violates his probation.