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Piedmont man gives insanity plea in sex abuse case

A Piedmont man pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity last week to a sexual abuse charge.

The 40-year-old man opted Thursday to plead not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to a charge of sexual abuse of a child younger than 12. The man also waived his arraignment, which was scheduled that day.

A Calhoun County grand jury indicted the man in December after the Calhoun-Cleburne Major Crimes Unit charged him in March.

Authorities told the Star last year he abused a girl between November 2019 and December 2019 at the home he shared with the victim between Jacksonville and Piedmont.

He was booked into the Calhoun County Jail with bond set at $25,000. He was released on bond in March 2020, shortly after his arrest.

An attempt Monday to reach his defense attorney was unsuccessful.

The Star typically withholds the identities of those charged with sex crimes until they are convicted or plead guilty, as the stigma that can accompany such charges can linger even if the charges are dropped or the suspect is exonerated. The Star does not name victims of sex crimes.

Sexual abuse of an child younger than 12 is a Class B felony, punishable by up to two decades in prison and up to a $30,000 fine upon conviction.

Contact Staff Writer Mia Kortright at 256-235-3563 or akortrig@gmail.com.