Hiram, Mo., man pleads guilty to child molestation

Friday, August 17, 2012

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A former Poplar Bluff man pleaded guilty Tuesday to molesting an infant left in his care for a short time in March. Lance Walter Hada, 21, of Hiram, Mo., pleaded guilty as charged to first-degree child molestation, Butler County assistant prosecuting attorney Ted Thompson said. After accepting Hada's plea, Senior Judge Paul McGhee ordered a sentencing assessment report. Hada is to appear at 1 p.m. Aug. 28 for sentencing.

As part of plea negotiations with Hada's attorney, Ted Liszewski with the Public Defender's Office, the sentencing recommendation is eight years in prison, with a 120-day Missouri Sexual Offenders Program assessment, according to Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour.

During that assessment, "they'll assess whether it's safe to release him" after the 120 days or not, Barbour said. If Hada is not released after the 120 days, then he would be placed in the general prison population.

"In order to get into the program, they have to do a sentencing assessment report," Barbour said. "They want to evaluate him first."

If the report comes back and Hada is found to not qualify for the assessment, "he'll probably be able to withdraw his plea because [the assessment] was part of the plea bargain," Barbour said. "We anticipate he will probably qualify, but you never know."

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