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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 8:15 PM

Kelly Sentenced to 6-12 Years for Lewdness with a Child

Kelly Sentenced to 6-12 Years for Lewdness with a Child
Justin Kelly.
Photo courtesy CCSO.

Justin Eugene Kelly appeared for sentencing in the Tenth Judicial District Court in Fallon before visiting Judge Robert Estes on April 8. Kelly pleaded guilty to two felony counts of Lewdness with a Child Under the Age of Sixteen in January. 

Deputy District Attorney Priscilla Baker asked the court to sentence Kelly to two consecutive prison terms of 1-10 years. She explained that the victim is neurodivergent, seeing life in black and white. 

According to Baker, Kelly took the victim camping and fishing, bought her things, and gave her money. He did those things to bribe her to let him touch her, stated Baker, “He victimized her.” When the victim could not take it anymore, she told her mother that she had a dream about the defendant, after which the details came out. 

Baker further explained that Kelly said he regretted what happened and that it destroyed his life. Baker asked, “What about the victim’s life? It is forever changed because of this defendant.” The defendant was a trusted person who violated that trust, stating, “This is not acceptable behavior, Your Honor. We ask that you hold him accountable.” 

Paul Wolfe, Esq., speaking for the defense, told the court that Kelly has absolutely no criminal history and accepted full responsibility, and “this is your colloquial he said-she said type of case," there is no forensic evidence. The defendant did not want the victim subjected to the ordeal of a trial. 

Wolfe further stated, “This crime is considered one of the most reprehensible, repulsive crimes that you can commit.” His position of trust was violated. This will follow his client for the rest of his life –an unforgivable offense. He will be a target in prison, so he will have to be segregated. He will be closely monitored for the remainder of his life, and everyone will know what he did. “He is going to be punished every day for the rest of his life.” Wolfe asked that the sentences run concurrent rather than consecutive so that he can strive for parole, strive for betterment, and make sure this never happens again. 

Struggling through tears and a shaky voice, the victim read a written statement to the court, stating that she was taken advantage of by someone she had known since she was young, someone whom she trusted, someone who had been there for her for as long as she can remember; and she loved him. She told the court she went camping with Kelly, spent much time with him, and he was always there. She believed he watched out for her, loved her, comforted her, and was an important person in her life.

Then things changed when she was 13, continued the victim, who said she was confused by things he started doing to her. This went on for over two years. She became angrier and angrier as the abuse went on. One day, she told her mother about a “dream" she had about him. Everything came out then. She said she will never be able to forgive him. 

Kelly then read a written statement; he said he was extremely sorry. 

Judge Estes began by saying almost everything that needs to be said has already been said, that rehabilitation is so unlikely in these kinds of cases, that the victim and the community need time to heal, and that public protection is necessary. 

“One thing when I read the Pre-Sentence Investigative Report that almost jumped up and punched me in the nose," said Estes, was where the defendant said this was the worst mistake he has ever made, and it has ruined his life; not one mention of the devastation he caused the victim. Estes told Kelly before passing sentence, “The remorse that I see in this case is the remorse that you feel for yourself, for your life being ruined.” 

Fees and assessments were imposed. Judge Estes delivered two consecutive prison sentences of 36-120 months. Kelly was remanded to the custody of the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office for imposition of the sentence. 

In speaking with the family briefly following the hearing, the victim asked, “Can you just make sure everyone knows he is a terrible person and that I hate him."