A Claypool man was sentenced to prison Thursday for child molesting and was told he also needs to get an education.

Justice W. Hughes, 18, of 1396 W. CR 800S, Claypool, was sentenced by Kosciusko Superior Court I Judge David Cates Thursday to five years in the Indiana Department of Corrections, with 3½ years suspended to probation, for the level 4 child molesting felony.

According to court papers, on Aug. 9, 2018, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a residence and upon knocking on the door saw a man shove a pair of shoes into a backpack and jump out a window. When police detained the man, identified as Hughes, he told police alcohol was in his book bag. In Hughes’ wallet were two empty condom wrappers, court papers state.

Hughes was taken to jail then for illegal possession of alcohol, however, those charges got upgraded after police then went and knocked on the front door of the residence and an underage girl answered the door wearing only a towel. She told police that she had just had sex with Hughes and that they had been having sex since January 2018.

On Thursday, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Brad Voelz told Cates that Hughes’ lack of education and lack of any significant employment is a problem.

“My client wishes to express his regrets and apologies,” Hughes’ attorney, Jay Rigdon, said. “This is a line he crossed, and his time in jail has taught him that laws in Indiana are not options, they are requirements.”

On Aug. 27, 2018, Hughes’ grandmother wrote the court a letter begging the court to release him to her custody, citing that “he isn’t a threat and is a mentally challenged young man. Justice doesn’t even know how to sign his name. He doesn’t understand much and he is 18 years old but he isn’t mentally.”

Cates told Hughes he gave serious consideration to rejecting his plea agreement.

“I have some concerns,” Cates said. “No job, no education, and no plan to deal with that. This is a hard and fast line and you will not cross it again.”

Hughes was given 455 days of actual jail time credit, sentenced to five years in IDOC, with 3½ years suspended. He must register as a sex offender, and Cates ordered him to obtain his GED or equivalent and continue seeking help from a mental health facility.