Franklin man sentenced to 52 years for child molesting

A Franklin man was sentenced to 52 years in Indiana Department of Corrections for child molesting as a repeat offender.

James Franklin Fletcher, 50, was convicted following a jury trial last month in Johnson County Superior Court 3.

Fletcher initially faced three charges of child molestation, a Class A felony, and three charges of sexual misconduct with a minor, a Class B felony.

He was convicted of one count of child molesting and admitted to being a repeat offender, as he was previously convicted of child molesting in the early 2000s.

Fletcher was charged in February 2020, after a woman reported to the Franklin Police Department that Fletcher had molested her six times when she was a child, between 2007 and 2011, according to the probable cause affidavit.

She recalled three times he molested her in 2007 and 2008, and three more times in 2010 and 2011, according to court documents.

Though the victim is an adult now, she felt it was necessary to come forward to protect her own children and others.

Neither the victim nor Fletcher gave a statement in court at the sentencing hearing, allowing their attorneys to speak for them.

Fletcher’s attorney, Andrew Eggers, said Fletcher maintains his innocence and plans to appeal the case. Eggers requested Judge Lance Hamner consider giving Fletcher less time in jail and more with community corrections on work release.

Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Bland requested Hamner consider giving Fletcher the maximum penalty of 60 years, which would have been 50 years for the molestation and 10 additional years because it is a repeat offense.

Because Fletcher molested the victim starting at 10 years old and molested a child of a similar age in the previous case, he has shown that he did not grow from the first incident, Bland said. Instead, he convinced the victim and his family that he was trustworthy and broke that trust, he said.

Hamner found that the aggravating circumstances of the case far outweighed the mitigating circumstances and handed down a sentence eight years shy of the maximum. He sentenced Fletcher to 45 years executed in the Indiana Department of Corrections for the molestation charge and seven additional years for the repeat offense, for a total of 52 years.

Because he committed the crime when the state’s previous A-D system of felony crimes was in place, Fletcher’s sentence was given according to the old system.