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Hand to plead guilty

BY Carolyn Muyskens

cmuyskens@chronicle-tribune.com

Jennifer Hand has signed a plea agreement on charges related to the molesting that left her daughter pregnant at age 10.

Hand’s boyfriend, Nicholas Deon Thrash, was sentenced last week to 160 years for 10 counts of child molesting. The victim, now 12, gave birth at age 11 in September of 2017 to a boy who was given up for adoption.

Hand, 33, is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury, a Level 5 felony, neglect of a dependent, a Level 6 felony, aiding child molesting, a Level 1 felony and assisting a criminal, a Level 5 felony.

Hand’s plea agreement includes pleading guilty to all four felony charges and accepting a total sentence of 25 years incarceration. She is expected to plead guilty at a hearing set for Tuesday at 1:15 p.m.

According to information filed in the case, Hand knew that her daughter had reported to police in Georgia that Thrash was molesting her. When they moved from Georgia to Marion, Hand continued to let Thrash live with her and her daughter despite the open criminal investigation into the alleged child molesting in Georgia.

Investigators said in the spring of 2017 Hand failed to report the fact that her daughter had become pregnant to any authorities, and even after the victim told Hand that Thrash was molesting her, Hand continued to let Thrash live with them and did not report him.

Hand is also accused of lying to Georgia law enforcement and Marion police about Thrash’s whereabouts.

During Thrash’s trial on 10 counts of child molesting, Hand appeared briefly outside of the presence of the jury to plead the Fifth and avoid self-incrimination..

The victim testified during Thrash’s trial that she told her mother Thrash was molesting her after her mother had her take a home pregancy test in early May 2017.

According to the victim’s testimony, Hand took her to have an abortion, but the clinic turned them away because they didn’t have the girl’s original birth certificate. On the way out of the clinic the two stopped into a mobile pregnancy crisis center, where the nurse reported the 10-year-old’s pregnancy to her supervisor and then to the Indiana Department of Child Services. The victim was five months pregnant at the time.

Law enforcement investigated and arrested Thrash and Hand in late May.

Thrash was found guilty by a Grant County jury in late August.

Thrash has said he plans to appeal his conviction, and according to court records he was appointed a new attorney, David M. Payne, on Monday.

Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Glancy said she was ready to take Hand to trial in two weeks and still is if Hand changes her mind before the official plea hearing tomorrow. Hand’s jury trial is set for Oct. 9.

Glancy said she would save her comments on the Hand outcome until after today’s hearing.

UPDATE: This article has been corrected to accurately state the total sentence for Hand. An earlier version of this article had stated an incorrect figure.