May 20-A 22-year-old Carthage man took a plea offer this week that could send him to prison for seven years for having sex with a girl under 14 years old.
Roldy E. DeLeon pleaded guilty Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court to a reduced charge of second-degree statutory rape in a deal dismissing a second count of statutory rape and limiting the sentence he might be assessed to no more than seven years. He had been facing two counts of first-degree statutory rape.
Judge David Mouton ordered a sentencing assessment of the defendant and set a sentencing hearing for July 25.
A probable-cause affidavit states that on March 23, 2021, the defendant picked up three minors in Joplin and gave them a ride to Carthage, where he purchased alcohol and took them to a residence for the night.
In the meantime, the three minors had been reported missing, and Carthage police located two in a park the following day. While speaking with them, police learned of a possible sexual assault involving the third, who was located in Carthage, and all three were taken to the Children's Center in Joplin for interviews.
One acknowledged having had sex with DeLeon the previous night, according to the affidavit. The document further alleges that DeLeon admitted knowing the age of the girl and having had intercourse with her.