ERWIN — An Erwin man charged last year with multiple counts of rape of a child will spend the next 15 years in prison after entering a guilty plea Thursday morning in Unicoi County Criminal Court.
Jeremiah Gillespie, 634 Maple Ave., pleaded guilty to three counts of rape of a child.
In February 2011, Gillespie was arrested by the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department and charged with rape of a child following a month-long investigation. According to the arrest report, Gillespie had engaged in sexual intercourse with his stepdaughter, who was under age 13 at the time.
Following his arrest, Gillespie told investigators that he engaged in sexual intercourse and other acts with the child approximately 10 times, according to the arrest report. According to the presentment document filed in Criminal Court, Gillespie’s actions took place over a period from April 2007 to April 2009.
A Unicoi County grand jury indicted Gillespie on 10 counts of rape of a child in August. In July, Gillespie’s wife, Sandra Gillespie, pleaded no contest to charges of neglect and failure to report abuse for having knowledge of her husband’s actions. She was sentenced to probation for a period of 11 months, 29 days and was ordered to pay court costs.
Per his plea agreement entered in court Thursday, Jeremiah Gillespie’s seven other counts were dismissed. Gillespie was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison on each of the three charges to which he pleaded guilty, with the sentences to run concurrently.
Gillespie also must undergo counseling before his release from prison, will be subjected to lifetime supervision and must register as a sex offender following his release.