TIPTON — Tipton County resident Aaron Nichols, 20, is facing felony charges of child molestation in Tipton and Hamilton counties.

Nichols allegedly confessed to a number of offenses involving minors to the Tipton Department of Child Services in March 2006, said Hamilton County Special Prosecutor Stephanie Smith.

“There had been a report in 2004 addressed through counseling. He then came forward on his own and reported an additional victim that was not common knowledge,” Smith said.

She called these type of confessions “rare,” saying most offenders don’t come forward on their own.

As a result of her findings, she charged Nichols with a class B felony charge of deviant sexual conduct and a class C felony fondling of a minor. The charges involve both an alleged victim in Tipton County and an alleged victim in Hamilton County.

The alleged incident occurred in 2002 between Nichols and a boy who was 7 or 8 at the time, Smith said. The other case dealt with an 11-year-old in Hamilton, in 2004.

Nichols was a minor at the time. Due to the nature of the alleged crimes, Smith has asked the courts in Tipton and Hamilton to waive him to adult court. This information is considered open to the public in Hamilton County. Officials in the Tipton County Clerk’s Office said they couldn’t release any information.

Smith took over as the special prosecutor in this case after Tipton County Prosecutor Jay Rich recused himself in March 2007.

The case was originally brought to Rich in March 2006. Rich asked to recuse himself in a petition written March 15, 2007, to “avoid an appearance of impropriety.”

Rich cited close links with the Nichols family due to a close working relationship with coroner Brad Nichols and deputy coroner Robert Nichols of Tipton County.

Robert Nichols is Aaron’s father, Brad Nichols is Aaron’s uncle and also serves as a county councilman who makes financial decisions for the prosecutor’s office. Rich also said the Nichols family contributed to his campaign.

The investigation was handed to Detective Keith O’Donnell who submitted his report Jan. 22 and supplemented the report on March 7, 2007, saying the investigation was complete.

If convicted of these crimes, Smith said Nichols could serve from six to 20 years for a B felony and two to eight years for a C felony.

An initial hearing in Hamilton County is set for 2:30 p.m. June 11 with Circuit Court Judge Judith Profitt.

Smith said Nichols has received the summons. He will not be incarcerated beforehand.

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