"The parties reached an agreement that I would say neither side was real happy with."
A former Tenessee Sheriff's Deputy accused of raping a 14-year-old multiple times has accepted a plea deal that will see him avoid a trial, prison time — and the sex offender's registry.
Brian O. Beck, 47, was arrested and indicted back in June of 2018, on two counts of rape by force or coercion, and two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure.
Investigators alleged at the time the assaults began around May of 2016 — when the victim was four years under the age of consent — and continued until around January 19, 2018, Fox 13 reported. At the time Beck, who had worked at the Sheriff's department since 2004, was relieved of duty without pay.
Qatar World Cup Official Reports Rape, is Told She Faces 7 Years in Jail and 100 Lashes for 'Extramarital Sex'View Story
But then, much to the victim's family's frustration, nothing happened for the next four years. The Covid pandemic didn't help the mountain of backlog either.
The initial hearing to decide if a trial was necessary and set a date was rescheduled more than 20 times, WMC reported.
"It's five years," the victim's father, speaking anonymously, told the outlet in June of last year. "She needs closure."
"I mean, there are damages, you know, major damages and unhappiness," he added. "She just needs some closure. She just needs to see movement of the ball, that's what she needs to see."
The most recent rescheduled hearing was for February 28; but the victim's family would ultimately not see their day in court. That same day, Beck struck a deal with prosecutors, in which he agreed to plead guilty to a single amended count of aggravated assault.
Had he been convicted of the original four counts he was indicted on, he could have faced up to 90 years in prison.
Philadelphia Officer Who Shot 12-Year-Old Boy in the Back Will Be FiredView Story
Instead, as part of his "Alford plea", he was given a four year suspended prison sentence -- which means he will stay out of jail as long as he does not break the rules of his three year supervised probation.
He must also perform 150 hours of community service, and must submit to random drug screenings; he can no longer own a gun, and can never be employed by law enforcement again. In addition, he must stay away from the victim.
However, it also means he does not have to register as a sex offender.
"Given the totality of the evidence, we ethically could not proceed to trial on the indicted offenses," Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich told PEOPLE in a statement. She added that the plea offer "was made in consultation with the victim," who has not been identified.
Beck has maintained his innocence throughout; his lawyer told the outlet he only accepted the "Alford Plea" deal in order to avoid the harsher punishment hanging over him, had the jury been swayed against him
"...the parties reached an agreement that I would say neither side was real happy with," attorney Leslie Ballin said.
An Alford Plea is a guilty plea in which a defendant does not admit to the criminal act and maintains they are innocent, but accepts there is a very strong case against them.
It was named after North Carolina man Henry Alford, who in 1970 was charged with first-degree murder for a crime he insisted he did not commit, despite the overwhelming evidence against him. Knowing there was a chance he would be executed if he pled not guilty but was convicted, he reluctantly pled guilty to second-degree murder, and was given 30 years in prison instead.