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Man sentenced for molesting family member in SW Missouri

NEOSHO, Mo. – A Kentucky man will spend 10 years behind bars for molesting a child family member in Southwest Missouri.

According a release from to the Newton County, Missouri prosecuting attorney, John E. Hartle, 71, of Williamstown, Kentucky entered a guilty plea to one count of Child Molestation in the 1st degree. A judge sentenced Hartle to 10 years in prison.

The crime happened in the summer of 2020. The juvenile victim gave a discloser to a forensic interviewer at the Children’s Center in Joplin, Missouri that Hartle rubbed the victim’s genitals through the victim’s pants pockets. Family members confronted the defendant about the disclosure, at which time Hartle fled the state to attend a sexual addiction treatment center in Kentucky.

“Finding justice for juvenile sexual assault survivors in a way that doesn’t further their trauma is difficult to balance,” said Newton County Prosecuting Attorney William Lynch. “This plea allows justice to be served without requiring the child to testify repeatedly throughout the process. Given the age of the defendant, he may very well spend the rest of his life in prison.”

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