ZONETON - A man accused of rape and improper transactions with a minor has been allowed to withdraw a guilty plea in Bullitt Circuit Court.
Nathaniel H. Hardy had previously entered a guilty plea on the amended charge of rape and five counts of complicity to criminal facilitation to unlawful transaction with a minor.
His recommended sentence would have been 14 years in prison.
Attorney Andrew Epstein requested the ability to withdraw the guilty plea due to learning that a co-defendant, Robert D. Beard, gave a statement against his client.
He argued Thursday that he had not seen the statement made to investigators.
Circuit Judge Rodney Burress said another problem arose when Hardy completed his sex offender evaluation. During that time, Hardy said that he committed no criminal acts.
According to the allegations, Hardy was involved in two separate incidents.
The rape allegation centered around his involvement with a minor female in June 2009.
Hardy and Beard, whose final sentencing was delayed until the November trial date, were charged for their involvement in February 2010 with minor girls.
In Beard’s plea agreement, he would serve five years. Attorney Josephine Buckner did not ask to withdraw her client’s guilty plea.
Prosecutor Mike Ferguson told Burress that Epstein was well aware that Beard made allegations against Hardy during an interview. However, there was nothing recorded or written about that statement.
Epstein denied any knowledge that Ferguson ever mentioned the discussions.
His client has already entered a guilty plea to charges in Spencer County.
Burress instructed the two parties to work together to make sure all the discovery information is presented and see what case would be tried against Hardy on Nov. 8. The court had previously allowed the separation of the rape case and the improper contact.
In going to trial, Hardy could face 10-20 years on the rape and 1-5 years on each of the criminal facilitation charges.