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Man gets 30 years

BY Carolyn Muyskens - cmuyskens@chronicle-tribune.com

Scott Hatfield, 27, was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison for 15 counts of child molesting, 13 of them were Level 1 felonies.

Investigators said he touched an 11-year-old girl on more than a dozen occasions over a period of about a year in 2017 and 2018. He pleaded guilty to those charges last month. 

Before sentencing, Hatfield’s attorney and brother painted a picture of a difficult life and a set of unfortunate circumstances that brought Hatfield to where he is today.

“Every kid gets kicked around some, but some get kicked around more than others,” his attorney David Payne said.

Payne said Hatfield was physically and sexually abused when he was a child as young as 5 years old and was homeless for a period starting when he was 16. Payne said Hatfield is part of a tragic pattern of victims of sexual abuse becoming sexual offenders.

Hatfield’s brother, Casey Hatfield, testified in court that Hatfield has been mentally handicapped his whole life.

“He’s a nice guy,” his brother said.

The Marion man has learning disabilities and other mental health problems, his brother and attorney said.

Scott Hatfield also testified briefly, saying he was remorseful and ready to seek treatment for his problems.

Hatfield’s attorney argued for a 20 year sentence, but Judge Mark Spitzer went with the prosecution’s recommended 30 years, to be served as 25 years incarceration and five on probation.

Spitzer said although he believed Hatfield had shown evidence of remorse, the most significant aggravating factor to the judge was Hatfield’s violation of a position of trust.

Police were alerted to the incidents after the Indiana Department of Child Services received a report from the victim’s school, according to Det. Robin Young of the Marion Police Department. He was arrested last August. 

As part of his sentence, after his release, Hatfield will have to register as a sex offender and will not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with children.