Owens enters plea to sex offenses

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - A 75-year-old Brooks resident could be facing up to 40 years in prison for crimes committed over 50 years ago.

Gerald Owens entered an open guilty plea on Thursday in Bullitt Circuit Court on four counts of immoral and indecent practices.

Commonwealth attorney Michael Mann said in an open plea, there is no recommendation on sentence.

On each count, Mann said Owens could face from 1-10 years on each count. The counts could be run consecutively or they could be run concurrent, or at the same time.

Owens is also currently being housed on another charge of sexual abuse.

According to the indictment, Owens was originally charged with three counts of sodomy and three counts of sexual abuse.

The allegations were that dating back to 1959, Owens had deviate sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 12. The incidents with the third victim did not end until 1972.

In 2009, victims came forward with the allegations and Owens was indicted following an investigation by the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Department.

Owens had been incarcerated until last December, when his release from custody angered family members who were not notified in advance.

Earlier this month, he was taken into custody when another sexual abuse charge was issued.

Following mediation, Owens was set to enter an Alford plea on Tuesday afternoon; however, Mann and defense attorney John Wooldridge had to research what charges Owens should be facing since the offenses occurred prior to the current penal code.

Wooldridge said he wouldn’t advise his client to enter a plea until all the issues are settled. Without specific dates of the offenses, Wooldridge said there would be no way to defend his client.

On Thursday, which was the scheduled trial date, Owens agreed to enter the open plea.

Final sentencing will be held on May 19. Owens must undergo a sex offender evaluation, which normally takes 60 days to complete.

During the final sentencing, Mann said the victims could present testimony.

He felt in talking with the family, they were agreeable to the plea offer. He said most seemed pleased to see some resolution to the case.

Owens remains in custody at the Bullitt County Detention Center.