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Man charged with sexual abuse pleads to second-degree assault

A man charged with four counts of sexual abuse of a child in 2014 pleaded guilty Thursday to the lesser charge of assault, second degree.

Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said Pedro Rocha, 43, Russellville, was about to go to trial when “he indicated he would enter a guilty plea and started negotiating,” Rushing said. “He ended up pleading guilty to assault second, which is a felony.”

Rocha was given a five-year sentence and waived his right to probation. Rushing said there is a hold on Rocha by the U.S. Immigration Department. “In all likelihood, deportation procedures will start after he has finished his sentence,” Rushing said.

With the charge of second-degree assault, Rushing said, Rocha will not be required to register as a sex offender; however, sex offender registry is not required in Mexico, where Rocha will be deported back to following his sentence, anyway.

“The victim’s mother approved the deal and was OK with it primarily because her daughter would not have to testify,” Rushing said. He praised the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation of the case. “They did a good job of getting him picked up and investigated and collecting enough evidence to where he felt like he had to plead guilty,” Rushing said.

“We’re just glad justice has been handed down and the victim can put it behind her,”

Oliver said.

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