Having pleaded guilty in a plea agreement to one count of Child Molesting as a Class B felony, 19-year-old Zackary Armentrout received his sentence in the Starke Circuit Court this afternoon. The plea agreement left the sentencing up to the court, and Judge Kim Hall heard a number of witnesses called by attorney David Geisler on behalf of Armentrout.
The first witness was the defendants mother, who told the court that the 13-year-old victim in the case “had a crush on” Armentrout and the two were seen together often. She said the defendant had moved out of her home to move in with friends because Armentrout wanted to drink alcohol and do other things that his mother would not let him to do. While there, the defendant admitted he had sex twice with the victim, who also lived at the residence.
A 13-year-old was the second witness called to the stand, and she agreed that the victim was infatuated with Armentrout. After the sexual encounters, the witness said the victim claimed Armentrout had raped her – something she said was not true.
The defendant’s brother was called to the stand as well, and said that the incident was not forced and he just wants his brother back home. Geisler then called Armentrout to the stand, who said he was sorry for what he did and he was “the adult” and “should have said no.” He said it would not happen again and he would do what is necessary to prove that.
Judge Hall commended Armentrout on his support system but emphasized that the victim, at only 13 years of age, was too young to make the decision to have sex and he should not have allowed it to happen. Hall said there were three aggravating factors in the case: the victim was in a position of trust, having been allowed to stay at the residence where the incidents occurred and the victim lived; Armentrout scared the victim away from telling anyone what happened by saying if word got out, he would get hurt; and finally, he admitted to having sexual intercourse twice with the victim, the second time without using protection.
Hall said mitigating factors included the fact that he has no recent criminal history, that he was a young adult who made a foolish decision, and that he was in special education classes while in high school before he was expelled due to conflicts.
As a result, Judge Hall sentenced Armentrout to 10 years in the Department of Corrections with no time suspended; however, the court reserved the right to modify the sentence if he successfully completes GED classes, sex offender counseling, and substance abuse counseling. Armentrout must also register as a sex offender upon release and have no contact with the victim. He was credited with 122 days served.