Child molester sentenced to probation after guilty plea | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

Under a plea deal Valparaiso resident James Filby, 60, was sentenced Tuesday morning to four-and-a-half years in the Indiana Department of Correction, suspended to formal probation, for three felony convictions, including vicarious sexual gratification, attempted sexual battery, and sexual battery.

Porter Superior Court Judge Mary DeBoer said she would have denied Filby’s guilty plea to three of five original counts had prosecutors not requested the court’s consideration in order to spare the three victims from reliving their experiences through court testimony.

Filby was originally charged with five felony counts: child molesting, a Class C felony; vicarious sexual gratification, a Class D felony; attempted sexual battery, a Class D felony; attempted sexual battery, a Level 6 felony; and sexual battery, a Level 6 felony.

The counts were for allegedly fondling or touching a child under 14; for fondling his body in the presence of a child under 14; for allegedly touching the first victim′s breasts by force or under the threat of force; for attempting to touch a second victim′s breasts; and for touching Victim 1 between March 1 and April 30, 2020.

All the incidents are alleged to have happened at Filby’s home in the 100 block of South 450 West near Lake Eliza. The victims, a woman and her two daughters, lived with and visited the Filbys during the events in question. Filby plead guilty to, and was convicted of, three of the charges against him.

According to court documents Filby met police outside his residence and produced a handgun when they came to serve a warrant in November 2021. Shots were fired by Filby and an unidentified officer and Filby was airlifted to the University of Chicago Medical Center for his injuries.

In court Tuesday, the woman read a victim’s impact statement, that she learned through a relative that Filby was abusing her two daughters. “Even during your arrest you put so many officers and your wife in danger.”

“If the state hadn’t reached out and had the support of the victims, I wouldn’t have accepted this,” DeBoer told Filby. “This is something that they’re going to live with for a long time, if not forever.”

DeBoer also ordered Filby to undergo a Project Pro Evaluation, undergo therapy, and pay $3,930 in restitution to one of the victims. The state has 30 days to provide documentation pertaining to a $4,282.44 restitution request for medical bills for one of the other victims.

He must also register as a sex offender with local law enforcement within seven days, pay a $500 Sexual Assault Victim’s Assistance Fee and a $100 Child Abuse Prevention Fee, as well as abide by a no contact order for the duration of the sentence.

Shelley Jones is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.

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