A Fort Mill man accused of taking indecent liberties with two female teens pleaded guilty April 28 just as his trial was set to begin, according to the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Richard B. Childers, 62, of 438 Bull Finch Bend in Fort Mill, pleaded guilty to molestation involving one of those teens during a court hearing in York.
Childers’ guilty plea came Tuesday morning after a jury had been selected in preparation to try his case, Assistant Solicitor Chris Epting said.
Judge Lee S. Alford handed down a six-year sentence suspended on a one-year probation, Epting said. Alford further ordered that Childers must be listed on the child abuse registry and he also must not contact the victim, Epting said.
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“We’re glad that we were able to come to a resolution that did not traumatized the victim all over again,” Epting said after court.
The Fort Mill Times could not reach Phil Smith, who represented Childers in court.
Childers’ charges stem from incidents that occurred from January 2000 to June 2008. A police report notes that authorities investigated allegations that Childers inappropriately touched two female teens, according to a report from the York County Sheriff’s Office.
Childers was arrested July 17, 2008 on multiple charges. Arrest warrants note that Childers inappropriately touched the teens’ private parts and exposed his genitals to them as well.
During court Tuesday, Childers’ pleaded guilty to assaulting one of the teens, Epting said. The charges involving the other teen were dismissed, Epting said.
“We’re proud of her coming forward,” Epting said. “It took a lot of courage. Hopefully, her disclosure will inspire other people to report abuse.”