News and Tribune

August 21, 2013

Clarksville man pleads guilty to child molestation

He has already served his time in prison on the charge

By BRADEN LAMMERS
braden.lammers@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — A man charged with 19 separate counts related to child molestation changed his plea Wednesday.

Donald L. Hunter, 44, pled guilty to one count of child molestation, a class C felony, in Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 and was sentenced to eight years in prison with four years suspended.

Floyd County Superior Court No. 3 Judge Maria Granger, a specially appointed judge, handed down the sentence that followed the plea agreement reached between the Clark County Prosecutor’s office and Hunter’s attorney Larry Wilder. A class C felony is punishable by up to eight years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Hunter was originally charged with two counts of child molestation, a class A felony; eight counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, a class B felony; three counts of child molestation, a class C felony; two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, a class C felony; two counts of neglect of a dependent, a class C felony; one count of child seduction, a class D felony; and one count of material harmful to a minor, a class D felony.

Wilder said with the time his client has already served in prison, and once another case he is involved with is resolved, he could be released from jail and begin serving his probation. His probation is set to last 1,237 days, or about three years and four months.

The charge Hunter pled guilty to dated back to 2003 when his victim was less than 14 years old. According to the probable cause affidavit filed with the court the incidents spanned from 2003 to 2008 and involved one victim.

Before Granger sentenced Hunter, the mother of the victim tearfully read a victim’s impact statement to the court.

She said Hunter had threatened the victim and her sisters in the past; he threatened the life of the victim’s mother; he threatened his own life and terrified and caused turmoil for those individuals.

“There’s a recording of him threatening to kill me and [my daughter] both,” she said. “Many times we never called the police. Many times we did. The stalking and the intimidation never did stop.”

She continued and recounted her worst day was when the victim’s sister told her that she walked in on Hunter with the child.

“Don is a child predator, who has no remorse for his actions,” the victim’s mother said. She also requested that Hunter offer a sincere apology to his victim. Hunter said nothing after the victim’s impact statement was read.

Earlier in the proceedings, Hunter told the court when he is released he plans to relocate to his father’s home in Oklahoma.

The other case involving Hunter is related to an incident in 2011 that occurred after he was made aware of the molestation charges that would be filed against him. Hunter was charged with five counts of battery, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after being involved in a scuffle with police outside his home. The alleged assault occurred after police were called to Hunter’s Clarksville residence on a report of a “suicidal patient.”

According to the police report, Hunter told a nurse at Clark Memorial Hospital, where he was transported after the arrest, that he wanted to kill himself because he had received bad news the day before, but that Jesus would forgive him of all his sins.

Hunter faces three counts of class D felony battery to an officer, class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct in that case.

Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Jennifer Harmeyer said the case is still pending.

Each D felony carries a possible penalty of six months to three years in prison, a class A misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a class B misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of up to 180 days in jail.