By Joe Beck
FRONT ROYAL - A 30-year-old town resident convicted of sexual penetration of a minor less than 13 years old was sentenced to 11 years in prison and lifetime probation Monday in Warren County Circuit Court.
The defendant, Nathan Mitchell Gifft, formerly of 99 Hattie St., received a total sentence of 51 years in prison, 40 of which were suspended under terms of a plea agreement reached between the prosecution and defense. The first five years of probation, which will begin after completion of the 11-year active prison sentence, will be supervised. The remainder of the probation will be unsupervised.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Layton said in an interview Tuesday that the plea agreement involved no reduction in the seriousness of the charge against Gifft, nor were any charges dropped. Gifft pleaded guilty on June 2 following his arrest on Jan. 4. The victim was a 12-year-old girl, according to court documents.
"We only brought the one charge based on the situation and the wishes of the victim's family," Layton said.
Layton said other charges may have been brought against Gifft if he had refused to accept the proposed prison and probation sentence.
A criminal complaint filed in the case by Investigator Laura Nelson-Haas of the Warren County Sheriff's Office lists a period from April 2013 to September when Grifft "molested this child on several occasions."
Nelson-Hass wrote that she had completed an investigation into a sexual assault case when the victim disclosed that Gifft had sexually penetrated her.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org