Stanley J. Churchwell
Stanley Churchwell, 27, of North Platte was sent to the state penitentiary for 15-25 years Monday by Lincoln County District Judge Richard Birch.Churchwell appeared in court on a bundle of charges.
The deal arranged by his defense attorney Pat Hays resulted in the dismissal of five other open cases -- four theft charges and a burglary charge.
Churchwell did not contest the sexual assault charge. In fact, he admitted he had fathered a child because of it.
In jail since February on the theft and burglary charges, Churchwell was hit May 7 with another charge --sexual assault of a child – and he was convicted July 15.
Prosecutors said Churchwell assaulted a girl under the age of 16 a little more than a year ago. A South Dakota agency notified Lincoln County authorities that the girl gave birth to a baby on April 13, and the girl said that Churchwell raped her and caused the pregnancy.
A DNA test showed Churchwell is the father.
In court Monday, Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling asked for a long jail sentence for child sexual assault.
“The victim was only 15 years old and the attack included violence,” Harling said. “It resulted in a baby and Mr. Churchwell is a high risk to re-offend.”
For his part, Churchwell told Birch that “there was no violence involved, but there is no doubt I am the father of the baby.”
Churchwell has been in and out of the county jail several times. Most recently, he was arrested for helping steal car axles and trying to sell them at a salvage yard. That charge came just 17 days after he had served 135 days for stealing them from a house and loading them on a trailer behind his pickup. Neighbors called the police after noticing the suspicious activity around the house where he stole the goods.
Along with this conviction, Churchwell’s record shows charges of theft, fraud, false reporting, contempt of court, failure to appear, drug possession and burglary.
Churchwell received credit for 347 days he has spent in the Lincoln County jail.