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Robin Edward Slater faces jail time, despite the fact that he has congenital heart failure.
Robin Edward Slater
Thursday, August 1, 2013
A Ferrum man who said he is gravely ill entered pleas on charges of sexually abusing a child Wednesday in Franklin County Circuit Court.
Robin Edward Slater, 52, pleaded no contest to aggravated sexual battery and to taking indecent liberties with an 8-year-old acquaintance. He’ll be sentenced next month.
Slater, who had no prior criminal record, was alone with the child at a Ferrum home Jan. 2 when he performed lewd acts in front of her and then touched her inappropriately, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Deatherage.
“This young girl is very articulate. She was very descriptive,” Deatherage told Judge William Alexander at the hearing, adding, “She seems to be getting over it very well.”
The maximum combined penalty for the offenses Slater is charged with is 30 years, but Alexander said he would follow Slater’s plea agreement and not exceed sentencing guidelines, the maximum for which would be just over six years.
But even a sentence of that abbreviated length could have dire consequences for Slater, who appeared at the hearing with an oxygen tank to assist his breathing.
“I have congenital heart failure,” he told Alexander, speaking with noticeable effort during the hearing.
His attorney, Thomas Wray, confirmed in court that Slater is on a waiting list for a heart transplant.
“Does he understand that his chance of getting a transplant if he’s incarcerated is basically nothing?” Alexander asked Wray, then said to Slater: “If this is what you want to do, if you understand all this, it’s fine with me.”
He found Slater guilty of both charges and set a Sept. 23 sentencing.
Although a search warrant filed Feb. 6 showed that Slater was being investigated for possession of child pornography, Deatherage said there was not enough evidence to proceed on those charges.
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