Somerset man granted diversion in child abuse case

Gideon C. Wesley

A local man accused of abusing a child with autism was granted a pretrial diversion as part of a plea agreement reached Thursday in Pulaski Circuit Court.

Gideon Clay Wesley, 28, of Somerset, had originally been indicted last February on one count of first-degree Criminal Abuse (Child 12 or Under).

The charge stemmed from an investigation begun in November 2019 by Somerset Police after they were dispatched to Memorial School in reference to a student who had arrived with bruises.

According to his arrest citation, Wesley told authorities that the child had knocked a gun rack off the wall while they were at a residence. When the child didn't heed Wesley's request for him to get up, according to the citation, Wesley "grabbed him by the neck of his shirt and twisted the shirt, jerked him up and drug him approximately 20 feet down the hallway to place him in time out." At another point, Wesley grabbed the child's arm and tried to pick him up.

In accordance to the plea agreement reached Thursday, the charge was amended down to second-degree Criminal Abuse. Wesley was granted a three-year pretrial diversion but could face five years in jail should he not successfully complete the program during that period. If Wesley does complete the pretrial diversion with no further violations, the charge would be expunged (removed) from his record.

Wesley is next scheduled for a case review on May 6.

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