The Herald Bulletin

June 11, 2013

Man sentenced after pleading guilty to incest

By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — A man who admitted to incest was sentenced Monday.

Ernest L. Turner, 34, of Anderson, received a 20-year sentence with 12 ordered to be served in prison on charges of child molest, sexual misconduct with a minor and incest. Turner pleaded guilty to the charges, admitting to accusations he had a three-year sexual relationship with the now 16-year-old girl. Madison Circuit Court 4 Judge David Happe handed down the sentence.

According to a probable cause affidavit of the charges, the news of the relationship came out on Nov. 5, 2012, when the victim complained about a sexual assault to doctors at Anderson Community Hospital. The girl, 15 at the time, was concerned she was pregnant.

The girl told police the relationship started sometime between when her mother died in December 2009 and before Turner went to prison on another charge in 2010. The girl told detectives Turner went to great lengths to keep the sexual encounters secret from his girlfriend and other family members.

Over the next three years, Turner forced the girl to have sex at least 50 times, and apparently didn't treat her well outside the context of that relationship.

Several character witnesses took the stand to testify for Turner at the sentencing hearing, including his fiance and a former employer. They called Turner "misunderstood" and "not a bad guy."

Deputy prosecutor Bob Summerfield said their testimonies didn't change Turner's crimes.

"I think it should still be obvious that you're never supposed to have sex with your daughter. Ever," Summerfield said.

The 12-year prison mandate is actually a little more stringent than typical child molest charges, which are usually 10 years. Summerfield said he was reasonably satisfied with the sentence, which was aggravated, because there were some issues that would have made convicting Turner of a higher charge in court difficult.

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