Jefferey G. Harper, 53, of Russellville, was indicted by a Logan County Grand Jury Friday, Aug. 20, on five counts of sexual abuse first degree.
According to the Commonwealth, sometime between Sept. 1, 2020, through March 10, 2021, Harper committed the offense of sexual abuse first degree when being 21 years or older subjected a minor less than 16 years of age, on at least five occasions, to sexual contact.
The allegations against Harper were reported anonymously, however, according to Commonwealth Attorney Neil Kerr, “Mr. Harper was cooperative and truthful with Detective Kenneth Edmonds of the Russellville Police Department. In doing so, he admitted to the allegations.”
Harper was not arrested after being indicted but instead issued a summons to appear in court for arraignment on Sept. 23 at 8:30 a.m.
On why Commonwealth Attorney Neil Kerr chose not to have Harper arrested:
“Following the return of an indictment, the Rules of Criminal Procedure state that a summons shall be issued by the clerk unless a warrant is requested by the Commonwealth’s Attorney or directed by the court. Further, the rules state that a summons may be issued unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant will not appear in response to a summons. Each time indictments are returned, I make requests to the court for a warrant or a summons, on a case-by-case basis. If someone has been cooperative with law enforcement; does not appear to be a flight risk; has little to no criminal history, and does not pose an immediate threat to the community, then I would typically request a summons,” said Kerr.
Kerr further stated that the majority of the time when people have been served with a summons in a Logan County court, they appear.
“Asking for a summons does not mean I won’t be seeking a prison sentence, and asking for a warrant does not mean that I won’t later agree for someone to be probated,” said Kerr. “How to get someone before the court and how I seek to resolve the case (prison or probation) are two different processes. I gave Mr. Harper’s case the same consideration that I would any other case and determined all that would be necessary to secure his appearance in court would be a summons. On the same day, there were many other cases in which I reached the same determination.”
First-degree sexual abuse is a Class D Felony. It carries 1-5 years per count. The maximum sentence anyone can get for these charges is 20 years.
The function of the Grand Jury is to determine whether there is sufficient competent evidence to believe that a crime has been committed by a specific individual. This does not mean those individuals are guilty of a crime. The innocence or guilt is finally determined by a petit jury at trial.