Cody get 5-year sentence in child sex abuse case

SHELLEY BYRNE/The Mayfield Messenger

Cleo Cody (right) appears for sentencing Tuesday in Graves Circuit Court, accompanied by his attorney, Cirris Hatfield.

A man prosecutors say sexually abused a child will spend up to five years in prison.

Graves Circuit Judge Tim Stark sentenced Cleo Cody on Tuesday and denied his attorney's motion for probation. He said because one of Cody's crimes is considered a violent offense, he does not believe he is statutorily eligible for probation. He also noted he was denying probation because of the seriousness of the offenses for which Cody pleaded guilty.

Police alleged in one of Cody's cases that he followed a 14-year-old girl and an 11-year-old girl into a home uninvited before pushing the 14-year-old on a bed and sexually abusing her. One of the girls said she hit Cody with a stick, causing him to fall into a table. When the girls ran outside, police said Cody chased after them with the stick and pushed the 11-year-old to the ground.

Cody was sentenced in three separate cases Tuesday. He previously pleaded guilty to charges of criminal trespassing, third-degree burglary, first-degree sexual abuse and fourth-degree assault in one case, first-degree sexual abuse (victim under 12) in another case and fourth-degree assault in a third case.

He must attend sex offender treatment and will be required to undergo testing for sexually related diseases and to register as a sex offender.

Defense attorney Cirris Hatfield argued Cody could receive sex offender treatment outside of prison as part of her argument for probation.

"I believe that Mr. Cody is amenable to treatment in the community," she said.

She noted that although Cody pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree sex abuse, state law makes him eligible for the parole board to consider releasing him after serving as little as 15 percent of his sentence. She also said Cody should already have credit for 784 days of incarceration.

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney J.J. Beasley opposed Cody receiving probation instead of prison time.

Commonwealth Attorney Richie Kemp said previously that he reached the plea deal after consultation with investigators and with some victims.

"One of the reasons he's only looking at five years was we could not get cooperation from some of the victims," Kemp said.

He said it was important to him that Cody plead guilty to first-degree sexual abuse without pleading those charges down to a lesser offense and that Cody be required to register as a sex offender for his lifetime.

Hatfield said previously that Cody is anxious to put the cases behind him and move forward with his life.