A Nappanee man who molested his granddaughter was sentenced this morning to six years in the Indiana Department of Corrections, with two years suspended on probation.

Kosciusko County Superior Court I Judge David Cates accepted the plea and found Robert D. Stutzman, 61, of 8488 W. CR 1100N, Nappanee, guilty of level 4 felony child molesting.





Stutzman entered a guilty plea on Dec. 13.

Cates gave Stutzman two days of actual jail time credit. Stutzman must register as a sex offender, follow the sex offender registry rules, and pay fees, fines and the cost of the court order. He also must pay the sex offender registry fee of $500.

Cates told Stutzman he must go to Oaklawn or Bowen Center for treatment when he’s on probation, and he must pay for that treatment himself.

Besides the plea agreement, Stutzman’s church provided a restoration plan on his behalf, which Cates said bothered him. “No contact (with the victim) means no contact. You chose this course. You will have no contact,” Cates told him.

Stutzman was arrested and booked into the Kosciusko County Jail Aug. 7 on the child molesting charge.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed June 20, Indiana Department of Child Services caseworker Melissa Stephan on June 18 received a complaint of a possible child molestation case. She met with the victim, who was under 14 years old, at the Nappanee Police Department.

The girl told Stephan that on June 2 she was staying the night at the Stutzman residence. She woke up in the morning, climbed in the bed with Stutzman, who put his hand down the front of her panties and touched her. The victim left the room.

Stutzman admitted to Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office deputy Todd Sautter on June 19 that the victim came into his bedroom and got into bed with him. He said he hugged her and then put his hand inside her panties.

The courtroom was full of Stutzman’s family and church and community members.

In court this morning, defense attorney Gregory A. Cranston called his only witness, Lemar Stutzman, who is the victim’s father and Robert’s son. He read a statement that said, “When this happened, we were shocked and hurt.” He said his father said he was sorry and asked for forgiveness. He asked that Robert not go to prison. He said they wanted to put this behind them and go on with their lives.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz said, “This is one of those rare cases where the court’s analysis will be limited than most cases with what happened on June 2.” He said Stutzman should be given credit with his early admittance of what he did and with pleading guilty.

The only other time Stutzman was arrested was when he was caught drinking alcohol at 16.

“He has expressed remorse and done about anything I could ask of a person who has committed a crime,” Voelz said, acknowledging that Stutzman has worked with his church.

Voelz said the only aggravating circumstance was a big one – the violation of a position of trust. “I can’t imagine how this child will reconcile with what he did to her with the person she knew,” he said.

Cranston explained the different ways that his client has sought treatment and dealt with what he did, including seeking treatment at Oaklawn and Lincoln Therapeutic Partnership.

Mitigating factors, Cranston said, included not having any contact with police prior to this incident since he was a teenager. He asked Cates to consider that Stutzman was the sole provider for his wife and takes care of his animals on his farm. Nappanee has been the only place he’s lived his entire life, and prison would be a hardship for Stutzman.

He asked that any executed portion of Stutzman’s sentence be through Community Corrections. Stutzman has a job, residence and a phone.

“My client is willing to go to the moon and back to stay out of prison,” Cranston said. “He’s done everything he can possibly do to make it right.”

Stutzman read a prepared statement on his own behalf while crying. He thanked everyone for supporting his family and said he was sorry for the trouble he caused.

“I apologize to everyone for not being the husband, grandfather and community leader that was expected of me,” he said, then apologizing to his granddaughter for what he did.

“I promise this will never happen again and I’ll be the father, grandfather and community leader God intended me to be.”