Leniency asked but court stands by sentence for man, 68, in molestation case

Friday, September 7, 2012

Despite a last-minute plea by his wife for leniency, a 68-year-old Greencastle man will likely face at least the next 10 years in prison and live the rest of his life registered as a sex offender.

Putnam Circuit Court Judge Matt Headley Thursday morning entered sentencing of Frank Nuz Jr. based upon a plea bargain in which he agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of child molestation and a single charge of criminal deviate conduct with a child younger than 14.

Those were two of eight counts filed against Nuz by the Putnam County Prosecutor's Office after his May 18 arrest by detectives from the Indiana State Police Criminal Investigation Division at the Putnamville Post.

The child molestation charge carries a 20-year sentence, while the deviate conduct charge carries a four-year prison term.

Potentially Nuz could have to serve 20 years or more. Even with Indiana's two days-for-one good-time credit and concurrent sentencing, Nuz would still be looking at 10 years under the agreement he signed.

His wife of 30 years, Bonita, took the witness stand Thursday morning to make a belated plea for leniency.

"I feel like he's trying to be very honest and very upfront about what he's done," she told the court. "Because of that, I'd like to see him get a little bit of leniency because he's complied.

"He's agreed to what he did wrong. He's not denying that, and he's not blaming the victim. I don't feel like he'd do anything to any other kid."

Lobbying for leniency, however, did nothing to sway the final agreed-upon outcome for Nuz.

His court-appointed legal counsel, Sid Tongret, reminded Mrs. Nuz that Judge Headley's only choices were to either accept or deny the plea agreement her husband had signed.

Headley explained that the felony carries a 20- to 50-year sentence range and the minimum sentence would be non-suspendable because of the nature of the crime.

"He really got a significant break because of his (lack of a) record," Headley told the woman. "He was facing 100 years or better."

Nuz admitted to molesting two young relatives on multiple occasions between Jan. 1 and May 18 this year.

He was originally charged with two counts of child molesting as a Class A felony; three counts of child molesting as a Class C felony; two counts of incest, a Class B felony; and one count of child solicitation, a Class D felony.

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter said because of Nuz' age and lack of a criminal record he offered the minimum sentence as part of the plea agreement.

"Because of the age of the victim, it is what the legislature says it is," Bookwalter said.

Judge Headley then asked Nuz directly, "Do you understand what's going on?"

"I hope so," he replied, pausing before adding, "I am guilty of what I've done."

As part of the sentence, Nuz will be included for life on the sexual offender registry.

Following Thursday's hearing, Nuz, who will receive credit for the 112 days he's already served at the Putnam County Jail, was remanded to the custody of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department for transport to the Indiana Department of Correction.