A North Carolina man was sentenced to 17 years in a South Carolina prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a minor and giving her drugs.
Adam Samuel Shoop, 38, of Bessemer City in Gaston County, N.C, was originally charged with criminal sexual conduct against a minor and faced as much as 56 years in prison if convicted at trial, according to prosecutors and court records.
After the trial began Thursday in York, Shoop pleaded guilty to an agreement between his lawyer, Geoff Dunn, and prosecutors.
“This plea offer was entered into with the approval of the victim,” said 16th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Erin Joyner. “It spared the victim having to testify at trial potentially twice, once in York County and once in Gaston County.”
Shoop pleaded guilty under an Alford plea to two counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and one count of distribution of marijuana to a minor, Joyner said.
An Alford plea means a defendant accepts the punishment of a guilty plea but without being required to admit guilt, prosecutors said.
The assaults went on from 2014 to 2015 when the girl was 12 years old, then again in 2016, Joyner said.
“These incidents were part of a pattern of ongoing sexual abuse of the victim, which also occurred in Gaston County,” Joyner said.
York County Sheriff’s Office deputies, along with Gaston County police, investigated the cases and arrested Shoop.
Gaston County officials agreed to dismiss the North Carolina charges as part of the plea deal.
Shoop is not eligible for parole during the 17-year sentence. He also must register as a sex offender upon release and is barred from any contact with the victim.