Carter County man pleads guilty

Published 9:07 am Friday, September 27, 2019

A Carter County man received three and a half years in prison and a lengthy stay on the state’s sex offender registry after pleading guilty to 15 of 30 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in Judge Stacy Street’s courtroom Wednesday.

Richard Wayne York was charged pursuant a county grand jury true bill that was handed down November 9, 2018. The 30-count bill alleges the same thing on each count and reads that, “on or about the 24th day of July, 2018…[York] did knowingly possess material that included a minor engaged in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity…”

The indictment was the result of an extensive investigation conducted by Investigator Joe Harrah of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Elizabethton Police Department after he received reports against York July 8 and July 22 of last year involving sexual incidents against children.

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In those cases, York was alleged to have inappropriately touched a three-year-old boy and attempted to photograph an eight-year-old girl as she was getting out of the shower.

Harrah worked with local and federal law enforcement in obtaining search warrants to seize three cellphones from York where the pictures that were used to indict him were extracted.

Previous reports state that York had images showing the genitalia of a girl believed to be between the ages of 10 and 12. York was seen in the images holding the girl’s shorts to take the photographs.

The overall age range of the children that was found on York’s cellphones was 4 to 17.

York was jailed in the Carter County Detention Center since his arrest not long after the indictment on a $20,000 bond, where he would remain until Wednesday’s plea hearing.

According to court documents, York will begin serving his sentence immediately. He was given pre-trial jail credit of close to a year.

According to Assistant District Attorney General Dennis Brooks under the law the maximum penalty York could have received for each of the counts is four years.

Brooks also said that when York was done with probation he would have to register as a sex offender on the sex offender registry for a minimum of 10 years, which was also part of the judgment.