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KOSCIUSKO — A Nappanee man was sentenced to six years in the Indiana Department of Corrections, with two years to be served on formal probation, after molesting a female minor.
Robert D. Stutzman, 61, 8488 W. CR 1100N, Nappanee, was charged with child molestation, a level 4 felony.
On June 18, 2018, a caseworker with the Indiana Department of Child Services received information on a child molestation.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the victim told the caseworker that she stayed the night at Stutzman’s residence on June 2. She woke up in the morning and climbed into bed with Stutzman, where he inappropriately touched the victim. The minor then left the room.
Stutzman admitted to inappropriately touching the victim.
During sentencing in Kosciusko Superior One Court today, Jan. 10, Defense Attorney Greg Cranston called the victim’s father to the stand. The victim’s father then read a written letter to Judge David Cates.
“We are shocked that this happened,” said the victim’s father. “Never did we imagine that such an incident would happen. We ask that Robert be spared from prison. We just want to put all this behind us.”
In the letter, the victim’s father also said the victim misses seeing Stutzman.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz said this is a “rare case where the court’s analysis is more limited than in other cases.”
“He cooperated with the cops during this investigation and had an early acceptance of guilt,” said Voelz. “It appears that he’s expressed remorse.”
Voelz said Stutzman has completed various forms of therapy after the incident occurred.
“He’s done everything I would ask someone to do in regards of treatment for this type of crime,” said Voelz. “But this was also a serious violation of position of trust. I can’t even imagine how this child is going to reconcile with this.”
Cranston then addressed the court about his client, saying that Stutzman is “very cooperative and very remorseful.”
“Mr. Stutzman sincerely apologizes for what he has done,” said Cranston. “He immediately started treatment and has been attending weekly therapy sessions at Oaklawn (Psychiatric Center) in Elkhart. He’s also been through marriage counseling and has an overall positive attitude toward treatment.”
Cranston said Stutzman has been accepted as a candidate for community corrections.
“You can tell he has a lot of support,” said Cranston, addressing the approximately 30 members of Stutzman’s community who attended the trial. “He’s willing to go to the moon and back to avoid prison.”
Cates asked Stutzman if he had anything to say regarding the incident. Stutzman then stood and read a letter to those at the sentencing.
“I just want to thank everyone here for being so supportive and helpful,” said Stutzman. “I take full responsibility for my actions and I am truly sorry for not being the family member that I know I should be. I have made the commitment to follow through with treatment.”
In the letter, Stutzman also mentioned seeing the victim again and wanting to move on from the incident.
“I can see you have a great deal of support from your family and church,” said Cates. “But forgiveness is a different question. You took advantage of a position of trust.”
Cates then addressed Stutzman about his rehabilitation plan, saying he takes great issue with Stutzman seeing the victim again.
“You already pleaded guilty to this and you know what part of the requirement for that was,” said Cates. “No contact means no contact. Even if you’re in a room with somebody else and the victim, no contact means absolutely no contact. Unfortunately, you’re the one who chose that course when you did what you did.”
Cates sentenced Stutzman to six years in the Indiana Department of Corrections, with two years of the sentence suspended on formal probation. Cates also recommended that Stutzman complete a full mental assessment through Bowen Center or Oaklawn.