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Soliciting results in 10-year sentence

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A Center Grove area man sentenced to 10 years in prison for paying a teenage girl for sex will remain on house arrest while he receives counseling and medical treatment.

Paul Hewitt, 83, would normally have been sent to prison the same day as the sentencing. But Judge Cynthia Emkes wanted him to continue sex offender counseling, complete any medical procedures he needs before going to prison and pay for counseling for the victim while he is still receiving monthly benefit payments, she said.

Hewitt pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor, after he paid a woman and the girl to come to his home and perform sex acts in 2011. The girl was 15 at the time.

Emkes will review the case in December to determine whether Hewitt has completed the tasks and is ready for prison. He will not serve the entire sentence on house arrest, she said. Hewitt must register as a sex offender and follow other restrictions, including not having any contact with the teenager.

The woman who brought the girl to Hewitt’s home, April Preston, was convicted of aiding in sexual misconduct with a minor in April 2012 and sentenced to 12 years in prison, two years of work release and two years’ probation.

Hewitt’s attorney, Russ Johnson, declined to discuss details of the case and sentencing.

The prosecutor argued that Hewitt should go to prison and that the case was more serious because he repeatedly invited the woman and girl to his home, deputy prosecutor Daylon Welliver said.

“We believe it was an aggravated case. The repeated nature of what he did, his abuse of this girl,” Welliver said. “We asked for him to go prison. After that then he could go to probation and receive sex offender counseling.”

Hewitt began paying Preston about $700 per month to come to his house at 5397 Travis Road, Greenwood, and engage in sexual acts and promised her additional money if she would bring the teenager. Preston persuaded the teen to go with her, and he typically paid $100 whenever she brought the girl. Preston said during her sentencing that Hewitt took advantage of her money problems and addiction to painkillers.

The incidents with the teen occurred during a four-month period between June and September 2011, the report said.

He told police he knew how old the girl was because he had recently bought her a present for her 15th birthday.

Since Preston received a lengthy prison sentence for bringing the girl, Welliver said that Hewitt should also get a long sentence

because he initiated the incidents with the teen, knew how old she was and did it multiple times over a long period of time.

“What she did was just horrible, and she deserved every bit to go to prison, and of course we thought he did too,” Welliver said.

Hewitt also had several mitigating factors in his favor, such as having no criminal record, Emkes said.

She said she also felt comfortable delaying his prison term because he has not left the house by himself in the more than 600 days since being put on home detention, not even requesting an exception to attend his brother’s funeral.

Normally a person would be sent to counseling after serving their prison term, but Emkes said he is in a better mental state to benefit now than he would be at release when he would be nearly 90 years old.

The court has also ordered that Hewitt pay for counseling for the teen, and he would not receive monthly benefit checks once he is sent to prison, she said. The six-month delay will allow the girl to speak to counselors, and he will have to pay the bill, she said.

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