The 72-year old Hayden man who entered guilty pleas in September to 32 sex-related crimes was sentenced last week in Blount County’s circuit court. Herbert Writesman had entered blind pleas in all his pending cases, which means there was no plea agreement between Writesman and the Blount County District Attorney’s Office, leaving sentencing at the discretion of the judge.
Writesman was charged with four counts of rape in the first degree and four counts of sodomy in the first degree, all class A felonies. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of sodomy in the second degree and two counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12, all class B felonies; and two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, two counts of sexual abuse in the second degree, and 16 counts of enticing a child to enter any place for immoral purposes, all class C felonies. In addition, he was charged with two class A misdemeanors.
According to court documents, all the offenses were committed against one victim beginning in 2006 when the victim was only six years old and continued for many years. Writesman was arrested in January 2017 and has been in custody since then.
At the time of Writesman’s pleas, District Attorney Pamela Casey said, “This is the most egregious sexual abuse case I have ever prosecuted when you consider the age of the child, the depravity of the crimes perpetrated upon the child, and the duration of the exploitation of the child.”
At the sentencing hearing before Circuit Judge Steven King the state argued “that Writesman’s age should play no role in sentencing of the defendant” and asked the court to “look at the type of crime and length of the offense,” according to a statement issued by Casey’s office. Her office requested sentences of 50 years on each of the class A felonies, 20 years of each of the class B felonies, and 10 years on each of the class C felonies. The DA’s office also asked for the sentences to be run consecutively, meaning one after another.
Judge King sentenced Writesman to 30 years on each of the class A felonies, 20 years on each of the class B felonies, 10 years on each of the class C felonies, and one year on both the misdemeanors. He also ordered the sentences to run concurrently, meaning at the same time. In addition, Writesman was fined $13,100 in addition to court costs, and $100 to be paid to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund.
After Writesman entered his pleas in September, Casey encouraged parents to, “Be cautious. Talk to your children. Be curious. Talk to the people who take care of your children. Be suspicious. Ask the tough questions. You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your children.”
Following sentencing last week, she said, “Sadly, this goes on in our community. But, with every breath that I am given, I will fight and stand up for victims of child sex crimes. There is absolutely no excuse for harming a child. None. And, those that do should pay dearly for their crimes.”