ELKHART — A man was convicted of child molesting and sexual misconduct following a three-day jury trial in Elkhart Superior Court 3.
James E. Hinkle, 52, of Elkhart, also admitted to being a repeat sexual offender on Aug. 28, the third day of his trial. He faces up to 53 years in prison.
He was initially charged with child molesting, sexual misconduct with a child and incest. A repeat sexual offender enhancement was also added to the charges.
Hinkle was arrested on a warrant in 2009 following a police investigation. In 2008, after the victim’s bad behavior escalated, the family learned about what Hinkle had done.
The victim, now 22, testified during the trial, telling the jury saying Hinkle had caused the victim to “submit to an act of deviate sexual conduct” in the summer of 2004. The victim was 13 years old at the time.
The defense maintained the victim had fabricated the allegations against Hinkle and that the victim was not trustworthy because of having past troubles with the law.
Deputy Prosecutor Susan Snyder told the jury that a person who enters a courtroom to explain how a trusted adult perpetrated abuse “is entitled to the protection of the constitution notwithstanding a troubled past.”
Hinkle’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for 9 p.m. Sept. 26, according to court files.