man pleads guilty to molesting daughter

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Fillmore man was arrested Thursday and subsequently pleaded guilty Friday morning to sexually molesting his 11-year-old daughter and 12-year-old stepdaughter.

Bruce Allen Strong, 45, appeared distressed and looked down as he told Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley he was guilty on all five felony counts, ranging from child molesting to sexual battery.

"I don't want to put my kids through it," he gave as his reasoning for pleading guilty and waiving his rights to a trial or attorney.

Initially, Strong was charged with two counts of sexual battery, a class D felony with possible sentence of six months to three years; sexual misconduct with a minor, a class B felony with possible sentence of six to 20 years; and two counts of child solicitation, a class D felony with a possible sentence of six to 20 years.

However, during Friday's court proceedings, one of the charges was changed to child molesting, a class B felony, due to a clerical error.

Headley advised Strong that he faces "a number of years" in prison.

Putnam County Sheriff's deputies arrested Strong at his Fillmore home Thursday evening after interviewing him and his two alleged victims earlier in the week.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Strong admitted to taking showers with the girls where he kissed and touched them in inappropriate ways.

Strong also told investigators that he had the girls touch him inappropriately, according to the probable cause affidavit.

It was not clear during Strong's court appearance on Friday how many times these acts occurred or exactly when they happened.

However, court documents indicate they occurred generally between the dates of Jan. 1 and Aug. 24, 2006.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the girls told investigators the acts have been occurring for the last six years.

"My understanding is that this has been going on for a while," Putnam County Sheriff Mark Frisbie said Friday.

Judge Headley told Strong that he was going to order a pre-sentence investigation and that an officer of the court would be contacting him at the Putnam County Jail where he is being held on a $50,000 cash only bond.

Strong's sentencing hearing has been set for 9 a.m. Sept. 21.

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