Originally created 01/17/04

Child molester gets five years in prison



A 19-year-old man who pleaded guilty to child molestation was sentenced to five years in prison Friday by a Richmond County judge.

Judge William M. Fleming sentenced Ray Donnell Holden to five years in prison and 10 years on probation for the charge of child molestation, and required him to register as a sex offender.

Richmond County authorities alleged that Mr. Holden had sex with a 12-year-old girl on March 3.

Jeff Bowman, Mr. Holden's defense attorney, presented a mental evaluation to Judge Fleming, which he said stated that Mr. Holden was mentally retarded.

Mr. Bowman said the report found that Mr. Holden was able to distinguish right from wrong, and Judge Fleming refused to allow Mr. Holden to plead guilty but mentally ill.

Mr. Bowman said Mr. Holden cooperated with investigators and admitted that he had sex with the 12-year-old victim but was not sure of her age.

"His intellectual ability is close to a 12- or 13-year-old," Mr. Bowman said. He said his client has spent almost 10 months in jail since his arrest in March.

Mr. Holden was originally charged with two counts of child molestation, aggravated child molestation and statutory rape, but pleaded guilty to only one charge of child molestation.

Judge Fleming also ordered Mr. Holden to perform 50 hours of community service as part of his sentence.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.