By Beth Lawrence
A Haywood County man has pleaded guilty to two sex charges involving a Jackson County minor and faces up to 1/3 of a century in prison.
John Brody Luther, 30, of Canton pleaded guilty to one count of statutory rape of a child by an adult and one count of statutory sex offense with a child by an adult.
Luther was arrested in October on a number of charges related to the alleged sexual assault of a child under 12 years old. He is not biologically related to the child.
The abuse was discovered when the child tested positive for a sexually transmitted infection.
The alleged assaults took place in the victim’s home in August, said Major Shannon Queen of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
“We were contacted by Jackson County Department of Social Services to attend a forensic interview at AWAKE in Sylva (with) a specialist in child interviews relating to crimes like these and were witnessed by DSS and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Investigations,” Queen said.
According to the affidavit in a search warrant obtained by the Herald, DSS contacted the Sheriff’s Office in late September to report the assault. During the forensic interview, the child told the AWAKE interviewer that she had been forced to have vaginal and oral sex with Luther.
The child tested positive for two sexually transmitted infections: herpes and gonorrhea.
Luther was required to undergo testing for STIs, according to the warrant.
He was originally charged with three counts of felony statutory sex offense with a child by an adult, three counts of felony indecent liberties with a child, three counts of felony sex act by a substitute parent or custodian and one count of felony statutory rape of a child by an adult. Several of those charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Luther was ordered by the court to serve no less than 276 months (or 23 years) and no more than 392 months (or 32 ½ years). He received credit for 115 days served and will have to pay the cost of court. Upon his release he is required to register as a sex offender.
Luther was transferred to Piedmont Correctional Institute in Salisbury on Feb. 10.