Cress given prison in battery case

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By Susan Sharp

Following a brief hearing last Thursday, Jeffery Cress was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

During the morning proceedings, Cress agreed he was guilty of sexual battery and aggravated assault, both of which are felonies. However, while Cress was willing to take the deal offered by prosecutors in the case, his attorney Michael Hatmaker did not agree.

“The plea is not my recommendation,” Hatmaker said. He went on to tell Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton that Cress could continue and accept the plea but it was “absent my recommendation.”

This prompted Sexton to clarify if Hatmaker had concerns with the manner in which the hearing was being conducted. Hatmaker said that was not where his disagreement was. “I am ready for trial,” he said.

Hatmaker again told the court Cress was accepting the plea “absent my recommendation.”

Sexton asked Cress if he and Hatmaker had conferred about prosecutors’ offer in the case. Cress said he had and was going ahead despite Hatmaker’s ambivalence.

The 48- year-old Cress then, in a clear, loud voice, said he was guilty of the charges.

Along with a 10-year prison sentence, Cress was given credit for time served. Sexton also said he would be assessed court costs.

Earlier this year Cress was arrested for allegedly abusing a 7 year- old girl, court records said.

Authorities began an investigation into Cress’ alleged conduct after the girl and her mother came forward, reporting the allegations, police records said.

Cress was visiting a home, where the child was, in early June of this year. It was at this time that Cress allegedly touched the child in an inappropriate sexual manner, the police report said.

When the child was later interviewed by professionals at the Campbell County Children’s Center she recounted the events of the alleged incident to the staff there, police said.

On June 9, Cress was interviewed and subsequently arrested.

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