Prosecutor explains why child molester in Hancock County won’t serve jail time

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – A Hancock County man convicted of molesting a young girl isn’t going to jail.

Ryan Nutter, 30, was offered a plea deal that gives him 12 years probation, four of which he’ll be under house arrest. He must also register as a sex offender for life.

A few weeks ago, the County created its first Sexual Assault Response Team to help victims and increase convictions.

We asked the County Prosecutor why they didn’t pursue jail time for Nutter.

“There frankly was some concern about this case if it had gone to trial,” said Prosecutor Brent Eaton.

Nutter was accused of molesting another girl recently. That case went to trial, but a jury acquitted him. Eaton said detectives were worried that would happen again and Nutter would walk free. The plea deal gave him a punishment and got him to admit his crimes in court.

“Mr. Nutter denied the allegations. He had not confessed. And so really we were going to be in a situation where we have to ask a jury to convict somebody of very serious crimes based upon the word of a child. And that’s something that’s a very difficult thing to do.”

CBS4 also looked at the County’s case history and found child molestation convictions have risen since 2015.

There were only 13 child molestation convictions between January 2011 and December 2014. But between January of 2015 and today, there have already been 11 child molestation convictions.

“This office takes these crimes seriously. We’re pursuing these people. We’re successfully prosecuting these cases at a rate that is more rapid than any office has in a very long time,” said Eaton. “We’re satisfied that Mr. Nutter has been held accountable for his crimes.”

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