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Bristol man pleads guilty to attempted child rape in plea deal

April 2nd, 2012 8:52 pm by Kacie Breeding

BLOUNTVILLE — A Bristol man accused of rape and aggravated sexual battery of a young girl has pleaded guilty to attempted counts of those offenses in exchange for supervised probation with GPS monitoring.

James Russell Weddle, 40, 1833 Volunteer Parkway, Lot 1-D, Bristol, Tenn., pleaded guilty to attempted rape of a child and three counts of attempted aggravated sexual battery Monday in Sullivan County Criminal Court.

The plea was entered in exchange for supervised probation in lieu of an eight-year sentence, which Weddle could still be ordered to serve if he violates probation.

According to Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Teresa Nelson, the probation office will monitor Weddle by GPS for a minimum of one year.

Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole spokeswoman Melissa McDonald said after the first year the board will decide whether to continue GPS monitoring based on Weddle’s compliance with supervision and his score on a risk/needs assessment tool.

Nelson said Weddle is also required to register with the Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry as a violent offender and must pay $3,400 in fines. He will be on community supervision for life and is prohibited from being around children or living near or frequenting places children are likely to be present, such as schools and parks.

He is also prohibited from accessing the Internet, except at work.

Nelson said Weddle is an employee at an automotive dealership and will be allowed to use the Internet to perform work-related searches such as for vehicle parts.

Weddle’s charges stem from incidents reported to have occurred in December 2008 and October 2009, when the victim was 7 and 8 years of age. Weddle was 37 and 38 years of age during that time.

“We felt like this was a plea that made him a sex offender for life and served the best interests of the victim and the community,” said Nelson.

Weddle’s public defender, Justin Hutton, declined to comment.

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