Prosecutors recommend 20 years after man pleads guilty to child sex abuse

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Keith West/Kenton County Detention Center

COVINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) –  A 43-year-old Kenton County ma faces 20 years in priso after pleading guilty three counts of First Degree Sodomy and two counts of First Degree Sexual Abuse, all involving the same child who was under 12 years old at the time.

Keith Edward West pleaded guiltyin Kenton County Circuit Court.

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Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Maria Schletker is recommending a 20-year prison sentence. West must serve a minimum of 17 years in prison and complete sex offender treatment before being eligible for parole.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders said, “We’d prefer to put child molesters in prison forever but this spares a young child from testifying about the worst days of the child’s life in a courtroom full of strangers.”

Sanders said cases like this require prosecutors to balance the child victim’s mental health with the benefits of lengthier sentences, saying, “Under Kentucky law, even a life sentence would be eligible for parole in twenty years.”

Sanders said the guilty plea avoids any potential for appeal and also requires West to register for life as a sexual offender upon release.

The case began when the child victim disclosed the abuse to a counselor about a year after it stopped.

The counselor referred the victim to the NKY Children’s Advocacy Center (NKYCAC) who notified Ft. Mitchell Police

After a forensic interview of the child at the NKYCAC, Ft. Mitchell Police Detective Jill Stulz and Commonwealth’s Detective Nick Klaiss interviewed West at the Ft. Mitchell Police Department. During the interview, West admitted to multiple acts of sodomy occurring over the course of approximately five years between 2014 and 2019 when the victim was under 12 years old.

The offenses would usually occur while West watched the victim while the victim’s mother was at work. The victim’s mother cut ties with West in 2019 due to his drug use, prosecutors said in a statement.

After being away from West for about a year, the child disclosed the abuse.

West is scheduled to appear before Kenton Circuit Court Judge Patricia Summe for formal, final sentencing on November 24, 2020 in Courtroom 6A of the Kenton County Justice Center.