Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 12, 2014

Miami Co. judge rejects child molestation plea deal

Karl Wikstrom Jr. accused of molesting 13-year-old girls

PERU — A plea agreement that would have put a 41-year-old Peru man in prison for 15 years for molesting two 13-year-old girls has been rejected by a Miami County judge.

In the plea bargain, Karl Wikstrom Jr. pleaded guilty to two felony charges of child molestation and would have served a 15-year prison sentence.

The agreement dropped four other child molestation charges, as well as a child solicitation charge.

Miami County Circuit Court Judge Tim Spahr rejected the deal last week, saying the prison sentence was too short.

Miami County Prosecutor Bruce Embrey said the main reason he offered the plea agreement to Wikstrom was to save the two girls from testifying in court and reliving the molestation incidents.

A five-day jury trial is now set to begin on July 28. Wikstrom could face more than 100 years in prison if convicted on all the charges.

Wikstrom and his wife, Leslie, were arrested in August 2012 after Indiana State Police received reports of child molestation from the Miami County Department of Child Services.

According to police, the couple asked for and performed multiple sexual acts over a two-year period with two 13-year-old girls in the couple’s home in Peru.

According to an affidavit, one of the girls stated in an interview that Karl Wikstrom performed sexual acts with her 15 to 20 times. She said Leslie would ask her to perform the acts and was present when they occurred.

The affidavit stated the second victim said in an interview that Karl Wikstrom gave her “medicine,” and then she performed sexual acts with both Karl and Leslie Wikstrom.

Miami County prosecutors struck a plea bargain last year with Leslie Wikstrom, who agreed to testify against her husband in the case.

The deal dropped four years off a 10-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea of aiding, inducing or causing child molesting.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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