Two defendants who pleaded guilty in recent months to sexual abuse of minors met with separate fates at sentencing hearings Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court, with one receiving a prison sentence and the other probation.
Judge Dean Dankelson assessed Guy S. Wilkes, 29, of Joplin, a 12-year prison sentence on a conviction for second-degree molestation of a 13-year-old girl.
Wilkes pleaded guilty to the reduced charge Oct. 25 in a plea agreement limiting the sentence he might be assessed to 12 years. He had been facing a count of statutory sodomy with a child under 14 years old, which carries up to 30 years in prison. The judge ordered that the defendant's sentence be served in the state's sex offender assessment program.
Wilkes was charged with the offense in June 2019 after an investigation by Joplin police and the Missouri Department of Social Services.
A probable-cause affidavit alleged that he entered the girl's bedroom in May of that year at a residence in Joplin and touched her in a manner that constitutes sodomy. He purportedly admitted to an investigator that he did so for his own sexual gratification.
In a separate child sexual abuse case, Jon C. Donahue, 25, of Carthage, was assessed a suspended sentence Monday on a conviction for second-degree statutory rape.
Donahue pleaded guilty to the charge Nov. 2 in a plea agreement capping the sentence he might be assessed at no more than five years. The conviction carries up to five years under state law. Judge Gayle Crane accepted the plea deal and assessed Donahue five years, with execution of the sentence suspended and the defendant placed on supervised probation instead for five years.
Donahue's conviction stems from an underage girl's disclosures in March 2019 that she'd had consensual sex with the defendant, who was 23 at the time. She told investigators that he knew how old she was when the intercourse took place. Second-degree statutory rape applies to victims between the ages of 14 and 16.