VIGO Co., Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Terre Haute firefighter Rodger Plunkett II appeared in court Tuesday, facing five felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor under age 14.
According to legal documents, the incidents allegedly took place from 1998 to 2005.
Vigo County prosecutors said cases like these can sometimes be hard to fight in court.
“Passage of time always makes a case harder to prosecute somewhat. In that witnesses die, things happen. There’s arguments about memory, recollection, all those kinds of things,” said Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt.
Modesitt said although some of the cases could be difficult to prosecute, it’s still possible to do.
“If you’re dealing with children as victims, then now they’re old enough, though, that they can better state what happened,” Modesitt said.
The state of Indiana created a statute of limitations for child victims who may be afraid to come forward.
“A victim of a sex crime has until they turn age 31 to come forward on those types of crimes,” he said.
If a victim does come forward, the prosecutor’s office decides what’s next.
“A full investigation takes place and then our office makes a determination of whether we feel that we have a case that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and we file it at that point whether it’s probable cause to file the charge,” Modesitt said.
If convicted, Plunkett II could face up to 40 years in prison. A judge ordered for him to be back in court on October 3 with legal counsel.
Terre Haute Fire Chief Jeff Fisher says Plunkett II is suspended from the department with pay as the investigation continues.
Plunkett II is being held in Vigo County Jail on $100,000 bond.