— A Mercer County woman facing charges including sexual assault involving a 3- to 4-year-old child pleaded guilty Monday in Mercer County Circuit Court to charges that could give her up to 55 years in prison.
Kimberly Cox, 38, of Nemours, pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault and sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian. She faces 15 to 35 years on the sexual assault charge and 10 to 20 years on the sexual abuse charge. If the sentences run consecutively, she could face a minimum of 25 years or a maximum of 55 years, Circuit Court Judge William Sadler said.
Upon release, she must register as a sex offender for the remainder of her life, Sadler said. As part of the plea agreement, Cox also agreed to provide truthful testimony in the case of John Spaulding, 40, of Montcalm.
Spaulding has been indicted on 57 counts including sexual assault and sexual abuse against children and possession of child pornography. The two victims were 3 and 14 years old, Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash said at the time of the indictment.
Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler said during Tuesday’s plea hearing that the state would have shown at trial how in the summer of 2012, a laptop computer sold to a pawnshop contained explicit images of Cox and a 3- to 4-year-old girl. The pawnshop’s employees found the photographs while preparing the laptop for sale and notified the West Virginia State Police.
Cox had made and sent the images at the Spaulding’s behest, and Spaulding continued to pressure Cox to get more explicit images of children, Sitler said. West Virginia State Police troopers executing a search warrant Spaulding’s home on July 26, 2012 found a laptop computer under a pillow. The computer contained more sexually-explicit photographs of children.
Judge Sadler accepted the plea agreement and informed Cox how she would be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of her life. She will also be under supervised release for 50 years. If she violates this release, she could spend the rest of the 50-year period in prison, Sadler said.
Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 13, 2014. Cox was remanded back to the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver.
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