COLUMBIA CITY — A South Whitley man was sentenced to nearly 100 years in prison for molesting a young girl over the course of three years.

Mathew S. Reed, 36, appeared in Whitley County Circuit Court on the morning of Jan. 13 to face Whitley County Circuit Judge Matthew J. Rentschler and answer for his wrongdoings.

Reed already had been convicted of the crime by a jury a few weeks earlier.

Reed’s attorney, Maxwell Wiley, noted to the court — as his client sat next to him in a bright orange Whitley County Jail jumpsuit — that “Matthew is a very loving husband, brother and father,” and that the foster parents of the victim had written a letter urging leniency in Reed’s sentence.

The judge, and Whitley County Prosecutor Daniel J. Sigler, didn’t agree.

“This girl was violated on multiple occasions in every way possible,” Rentschler told the defendant before handing down his sentence. “This was not an isolated offense. And this is something that can never be undone or forgotten.”

“Whatever sentence this court metes out,” added Sigler, “it pales in comparison to what this little girl is sentenced to for the rest of her life. It will impact her relationships for the rest of her life.”

When asked if he wanted to comment to the court by the judge before sentencing, Reed nodded no and remained silent.

Rentschler handed down 25 years for each of the first five counts of child molesting, and 25 years for counts six through 10, to be served concurrently and consecutively. He also gave Reed credit for 299 days he already had served in jail, while waiting for his trial and sentencing. The sentence is effectively for 100 years, and Rentschler noted that “after the sentence is completed, you will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.”

In other action, the court:

• Took under consideration a request for a change of venue for the trial of Clarence L. Shearer, who claimed that extensive media coverage of his alleged carjacking crime would be prejudicial to a fair trial in Whitley County. Shearer, 32, was charged in September 2019 with carjacking a vehicle in Plymouth, and leading officers on a multi-county pursuit that ended in a crash that resulted in the death of Whitley County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Cas in July 2019.

• Received a guilty plea from Thomas A. Goacher for possession of methamphetamine.

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