LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A 48-year-old Florence man charged with several counts of child sexual abuse pleaded guilty in a Lauderdale County Courtroom on Wednesday.
Kelly Crotts was indicted by a grand jury on three counts of indecent exposure, two counts of child abuse with sexual motivation and two counts of second-degree sexual abuse. He turned himself in at the Lauderdale County Jail on July 8 following that indictment.
In a civil lawsuit filed against a church where Crotts served, the unnamed plaintiffs who claim to be victims of him, allege assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress/outrage, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and wantonness, deceit and misrepresentation.
According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), the charges relate to three victims who were minors at the time of the offenses.
“Crotts exposed himself to the plaintiffs,” the suit says. “Crotts enticed and manipulated the plaintiffs with various schemes and lies to expose themselves to him. Crotts, acting with sexual motivation, touched the genitals of (plaintiffs one and two).”
Crotts will be serving one month in the Lauderdale County Detention Center and will become a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.
Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly told News 19 that he believes the punishment is not harsh enough for Crotts. However, this decision was made by the victims.
“It’s the finality of it, of getting that over with no appeals, no endless hearings and those kind of things,” Connolly said. “You know, we’re just so thankful that that young man came forward when he did to put a stop to this.”
Connolly also said that Crotts was a well-respected member of the Central community before this case. According to Connolly, Crotts used his position of influence to groom young boys at a local church.
Crotts would later invite those kids to work at his local business, which is when he would force those children to perform sexual acts.
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