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Bedford Man Sentenced To 44 Years In Prison, Victim's Mother Testifies
Updated September 17, 2014 7:41 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(BEDFORD) - Charles R. Strunk, of Heltonville was sentenced in Lawrence County Superior Court II Tuesday to 44 years in prison on two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.

A jury found 38-year-old Strunk guilty of the crimes on July 24 after deliberating for about 5 hours. During the trial Struck adamantly denied the allegations.

Judge Williams Sleva sentenced Strunk to 44 years with nothing suspended on the Class A felony of count of sexual misconduct with a minor and 10 years on the second count, a Class B felony. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

The now 16-year-old female victim testified during the trial, that Stunk sexually assaulted her at knifepoint in the woods behind a Lawrence County Home.

The girl's mother testified at the sentencing that her daughter suffered from trust issues.

"She pulled away from her friends and family. She trusted this man as family," her mother stated. "She started hanging out with strangers, she was failing school, she suffered physical ailments and problems with her stomach. She couldn't talk about what happened."

Strunk was the bestfriend of the victim's now deceased father.

But since the guilty verdict the teen is doing better.

"She feels safe now that he is behind bars," her mother told the court. "She is doing better in school and has started talking to her friends again.....I would like to see him (Strunk) in prison for as long as possible, so she can continue to heal."

Prosecutor Michelle Woodward asked Judge Sleva to consider Strunk violated the victim's trust, has a criminal history and has two pending cases in which he is charged with incest and child molesting.

Defense attorney Dave Smith told the court about Strunk's numerous health issues including diabetes and epilepsy. He also asked the court not to consider Strunk's criminal history or the trust issue during sentencing.

He also called Dr.Heather Henderson-Galligan as a witness. She is a forensics psychologist based out of Jeffersonville and evaluates defendants.

Following multiple tests and an interview with Strunk, Henderson-Galligan testified Strunk's only mental or physical problems are hypermania and ADHD and was not a high-risk offender even though a pre-sentence investigation by probation listed Strunk as a high-risk offender.

"He had one felony charge in the past 10 years," Smith said.

He also said the pending cases should not be held against Strunk, because he has plead not guilty to the crimes.

"By law he is still considered innocent until found guilty," Smith added.

In one case, filed in May, Strunk is facing charges of child molesting, Class A felony; sexual misconduct with a minor, Class B felony; and incest, Class B felony. He was arrested on a warrant on May 16. In another case, Strunk is facing charges of child molesting, Class A felony; and incest, Class B felony. Those charges were filed on June 4.

However Judge Sleva did find Strunk had a criminal history, though the last one was committed in 2007 and that the trust issue was violated, but was minimized since her contact with Strunk was minimized over the years since the death of her father.

The girl, who was friends with Strunk's daughter in elementary school, visited each other often. A few years later the teenager's family moved elsewhere in the county. The friendship continued, but the contact was less frequent.

But on May 8, 2013 the girl had messaged Strunk on Facebook asking him to take her mushroom hunting. He did, but when they went into the woods the girl alleged that Strunk pulled out a green piece of paper and a knife.

The girl testified that Strunk read aloud what was on the paper, but told the jury she couldn't remember what he said.

Strunk then told her to remove her clothes. The girl then claimed that Strunk took a permanent marker and drew symbols on her body. He then performed oral sex on her and forced her to do the same on him. The girl estimated they were in the woods for about 30 to 45 minutes.

According to the girl's testimony, Strunk spent the next several hours at the house, because he suffered several seizures.

The teenager said she had seen him have seizures before, but not as many in as short a time as he suffered that night. She testified that she and her sister attempted to assist Strunk until their mother arrived. Strunk left the house around midnight, and that is when the girl told her mother what happened.

The mother called Strunk's wife and then the police.

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