Ash Grove’s Wertenberger gets four years for possessing child porn

By: 
Steve Chapman

Wertenberger

Charges of sodomy, molestation, incest dismissed in plea agreement
 
An Ash Grove man was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Gary Wertenberger, 60, was sentenced in the Lawrence County Justice Center in Mt. Vernon on July 14. Wertenberger pleaded guilty to possession of child porn as part of a plea agreement; in return for his guilty plea, four other charges were dismissed. They were: First-Degree Sodomy, First-Degree Statutory Sodomy, Second-Degree Child Molestation and Incest were dismissed. Online records show the plea agreement was reached on Jan. 24, but Wertenberger’s sentencing hearing was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.According to a probable cause statement filed in the case, the victim, who was under 18 at the time of the abuse, was interviewed at the Monett Children’s Center on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. During the interview, the victim said Wertenberger forced himself on her on or around Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. The victim also said that when she confronted Wertenberger about him forcing himself on her, he said, “It’s not cheating; you are half (of) your mom.”The statement also said members of the sheriff’s office executed a search on Wertenberger’s home on Feb. 3, 2018 and several electric devices were taken as evidence. Wertenberger was also interviewed, and after being informed of his Miranda rights, admitted to having four photos taken of the victim while she was naked, and “they were deleted from his cellphone.”Also, the statement read “When Gary was confronted about the oral sex, Gary proclaimed that he wished to have an attorney, and (the) interview ended.”Wertenberger was free on a $150,000 bond until July 14, when he was taken into custody and booked in the Lawrence County Jail, pending his transfer to the Missouri Department of Corrections. He will be required to register as a sex offender.

Category:

Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712
www.lawrencecountyrecord.com

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