Franklin man sentenced to 8 years for attempted child molesting

A Franklin man was sentenced this week to eight years in prison for attempting to molest two children.

Dennis K. Burton, 59, pled guilty Tuesday to two counts of attempted child molesting, a Level 4 felony. Two counts of vicarious sexual gratification and three counts of public nudity were dismissed as part of the plea agreement, according to court records.

Burton was sentenced the same day by Judge Douglas Cummins, being given a sentence of eight years to be served at the Indiana Department of Correction. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for life as well as undergo a sex offender evaluation and any prescribed treatment, according to the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office.

Level 4 felonies carry a penalty range of 2 to 12 years with an advisory sentence of six years. The penalty he will serve is slightly higher than the standard sentence, prosecutors say.

In sending Burton to prison for eight years, Cummins noted that the mental, emotional, and psychological harm that children who are victims of molestation suffer is significant and that the ripple effect felt by those children and their families will continue for years, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Detectives with Franklin police first became aware of the attempted child molestation incident on May 8, 2022. Burton lived in the same apartment complex as the two children and befriended them. He committed crimes against them on several occasions over approximately two years, prosecutors say.

“I am very pleased that this child molester will be in prison as a convicted sex offender for the better part of a decade. I hope this sentence serves as a warning to any deviant contemplating this kind of despicable behavior,” Johnson County Prosecutor Lance Hamner said in a statement on the sentencing. “The message this sentence sends is clear: merely attempting to molest a child will land you in prison for many years. So don’t even think about it.”