A 21-year-old Mentone man will spend at least the next 15 years in prison for child molesting.

On each of three counts of level 1 felony child molesting charges, Kosciusko County Superior Court I Judge David Cates on Thursday sentenced Jeremy Russell Himes to 25 years with five years suspended for probation. The terms are to be served concurrently. As part of Himes’ plea agreement, the state agreed that the initial executed sentence should not exceed 25 years.

Cates gave Himes 255 actual days of credit for time served and good time credit. Himes is to have no contact with his victim. He is to pay any fines, costs and fees; and reimburse Kosciusko County $300 for the cost of the court-appointed counsel. Himes must register as a sex offender and obey all the standard sex offender rules, as well as pay the $500 sex registry fine. He is to go to the Bowen Center for counseling at his own expense and follow any orders they give him.

Himes pleaded guilty to the charges on Feb. 14.

On June 29, 2018, Warsaw Police officer Daniel Clemens met with Child Protective Services about an allegation. The CPS caseworker advised a girl under 14 reported she had intercourse with Himes.

The caseworker interviewed the girl who said sometime after February Himes provided her with drugs and they engaged in sex, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

WPD officer Jeffery Ticknor spoke with Himes who admitted they had sex on three occasions.

In court Thursday, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz said, “It’s sad. Everything that happened here is sad. I know Mr. Himes regrets it.”

He said Himes has been fully cooperative with police and the prosecutor’s office.

“I gave him an opportunity to blame this on meth, but he declined. He took full responsibility for what he did,” Voelz said.

Himes’ attorney, John D. Barrett, agreed with Voelz that it was a sad case, noting that whatever sentence was handed down it would affect Himes for a long time. But Himes understands, Barrett said.

According to the pre-sentence investigation report, Barrett said Himes was doing drugs, especially meth, but Himes didn’t use that as an excuse. He said Himes called his own actions “idiotic” and the court was sure to agree with that.

“Jeremy accepts the full responsibility for what he did. He wants to turn his life around and that starts here,” Barrett said.

He asked the court to recognize the mitigating factors in the case, including that Himes has no criminal history except his drug use. Barrett said he believes Himes is totally remorseful and knows his sentence will be significant, but his actions were significant.

Given the opportunity by Cates to make a statement, Himes said, “I’m truly sorry. I’m not blaming drugs or alcohol. It was my choice. I take responsibility. I want to be able to live my life how I should. I’m not the most godly man ... I don’t want to do that anymore. I just don’t want to be like this anymore.”

In accepting Himes’ plea, Cates told him he didn’t have a criminal history but meth use was not a mitigating factor. Cates said Himes took responsibility for his action, but it happened three times and Himes could have broken the cycle earlier.

Before Himes was taken back to jail, he was crying. He was allowed to say good-bye to his family and friends who were there to support him, but not allowed to touch or hug any of them.