Originally created 04/25/06

Man guilty in sex case



AIKEN - A 52-year-old Aiken man pleaded guilty Monday to having sex with an 8-year-old girl in 2004.

Johnnie L. Pittman, of Jo Ann Drive, was sentenced in Aiken County Court to 10 years in prison as part of a negotiated plea deal with prosecutors in the 2nd Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Pittman was arrested Nov. 10 by the Aiken County Sheriff's Office and charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree and performing a lewd act upon a minor.

Assistant Solicitor Brenda Brisbin said local authorities were alerted by police in Illinois, where the child had moved. She told workers at a children's advocacy center there that she had been assaulted.

Mr. Pittman's attorney, public defender Wallis Alves, told Judge Clifton Newman that his client was ashamed of what he had done. Confronted with the allegation, she said, Mr. Pittman confessed.

He has never denied having sex with the girl, she said, and asked that the judge order treatment during his incarceration.

"I do think that his drinking probably escalated to the point that even his wife divorced him," she said.

In addition to the treatment ordered by Judge Newman, Mr. Pittman will be placed on the state's child abuse registry and the sex offender registry.

The charge of lewd act upon a minor was dropped in exchange for Mr. Pittman's plea.

Mr. Pittman, a former mechanic and truck driver, faced a maximum 30-year sentence, but Ms. Brisbin said the basis for the plea deal was to spare the girl from having to testify.

Testifying "would be very traumatic for her at this age," Ms. Brisbin said.

Reach Sandi Martin at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111, or sandi.martin@augustachronicle.com.