SOUTH BEND — Justin Tracy, 34, of Raymond was sentenced in Pacific County Superior Court to 12 months in jail after showing no remorse for the crime he was accused of committing.
He and his attorney David Arcuri were able to reach a plea agreement with Pacific County Prosecutor Ben Haslam for a lesser charge than he was accused of committing, but it didn’t go as expected during his sentencing on Dec. 22, 2020.
Tracy was originally charged on July 18, 2019 with first degree child molestation/domestic violence. During the investigation, Tracy fled the state and moved to Texas before he was arrested on July 25, 2020 and booked into Pacific County Jail.
The plea agreement included Tracy having to serve six months in jail and register as a sex offender for a minimum of 10 years. The victim in the case would also have a lifetime no-contact order against the defendant.
“He ended up pleading to child molestation in the third degree,” Haslam said. “That was what we call an ‘in re Barr plea,’ so that’s not actually the crime he committed. I had talked to the victim and the victim’s family as we considered the case and we talked about the risk of going to trial for the potential of a jury not finding him guilty.”
Haslam continued, “We decided together to make this offer of the [third degree charge], which he was willing to plea to. We had agreed on a recommendation for the six months and the victim and her family members wrote letters to the judge and were incredibly elegant, and I am really proud of them.”
During Tracy’s sentence hearing, the victim of the case, who was 13 years old at the time of the incident, wrote two statements to be read: one for Richter to read privately and another to be read to the entire court. The victim’s father also wrote a statement for Richter to read before he handed down his sentence.
After the statements were read, Richter allowed Tracy to make his comment, during which he remained adamant he had not committed any crime and didn’t know what to say. Richter removed his mask and stated, “I do — 12 months.”
“I think whenever you see somebody not show remorse and not acknowledge what they have done in that situation, I don’t think they help themselves at all,” Haslam said. “When we make a plea agreement, we agree to a recommendation and once we make that agreement I am under a strict duty to not undermine that.”
However, the judge is not bound by the terms of the agreement, and in this case added a half a year of incarceration.
As Tracy left the Zoom room from the Pacific County Jail, he shouted a profanity at the judge that was missed. “Honestly, I am glad the judge didn’t hear it because [Tracy] could have gotten himself into even more trouble,” Haslam added.