Couple may not face charges in Boyle, Mercer

January 06, 2004|GARY MOYERS

Jane Marie Adkins, convicted Monday on 101 counts of federal child pornography charges, and husband Terry Adkins, both of Nicholasville, may never face charges in Boyle and Mercer counties.

The couple were arrested in late July after a search by officials in Boone, Boyle, Mercer and Scott counties for the perpetrators of sexual assault crimes against young victims in those locations. Sketches based on descriptions given by victims led to the eventual arrest of the couple at their home in Nicholasville.

In Boyle County, a boy less than 12 years old was allegedly assaulted while playing at the Boyle County Fairgrounds July 13. In Mercer County, a 10-year-old boy was allegedly assaulted in the Mercer County Public Library the same day.

Commonwealth's Attorney Richard Bottoms, who serves both Boyle and Mercer counties, said the decision not to seek indictments against Jane Adkins and her husband was based on the fact that federal charges would take precedence over local charges, coupled with the age of the victims.


"At the present time, assuming the punishment is substantial with the federal convictions, and due to the fact that small children were involved in the local cases, we decided we would not seek additional charges on the local level," said Bottoms, who added that evidence presented in the Jane Adkins trial linked her to Harrodsburg but not to Boyle County.

"It's tough sometimes when the only evidence hinges on the memories of small children," he said. "It was our feeling that the people we felt were guilty of the crimes are facing substantial federal punishment, and this means we don't have to put the victims through the trauma of a trial."

U.S. Attorney Gregory Van Tatenhove, who headed the investigation into the Adkins case, said Bottoms' decision is not an uncommon one when a person suspected of a crime on a local level is charged and convicted in federal court.

"These cases are many times difficult to prosecute," he said, speaking of the sexual assault cases in Boyle and Mercer counties. "They depend so often on the recollection of juvenile witnesses, and in the case of small children, it's very difficult to build an entire case around them. It's also a very difficult ordeal to put the children through."

Both Jane and Terry Adkins were indicted on charges in Boone and Scott counties, but Tatenhove said it was his understanding they may not pursue those charges if both are found guilty in federal court.

Jane Adkins, who plans to appeal the decision by U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Karl Forester, was convicted of 99 counts of receiving child pornography and one count each of conspiracy to receive child pornography and possession of child pornography. She faces a maximum penalty of between five and 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the conspiracy and receiving pornography charges, and up to 10 years and $250,000 on the possession conviction.

"In the federal court system, it's the province of the court to set sentencing, based on certain guidelines," said Tatenhove. "There will be a range of possible sentences based on the charges. Theoretically she could receive a sentence of more than 100 years, but that will be at the discretion of the judge."

Final sentencing for Jane Adkins will be April 9.

Terry Adkins is scheduled for trial Jan. 20 in federal court in Lexington on the same charges, and Tantenhove declined to comment on whether or not Jane Adkins would be called to the stand to testify.

Bottoms said local law enforcement officials from Boyle and Mercer counties provided the FBI with information from their respective investigations.

Tatenhove said the investigation into the Adkins couple was conducted by the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI, in conjunction with police from the four counties involved, and prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorney Mark Wolander. A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice issued at the time of the original indictments listed Danville Police Detective Patrick McQueen and Harrodsburg Police Chief Ernie Kelty as investigators in the case.

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