Freeman sentenced to 65 years for sex crimes against minors

Published 5:12 pm Friday, February 3, 2012

Tripp Dennis Freeman was sentenced to 65 years in prison Friday morning.

Freeman will not be eligible for parole for 60 of those years and his 20 months served will count toward his sentence.

The victims’ family and friends sat on the left side of the courtroom and Freeman’s family sat on the right to hear Freeman’s fate.

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“I know this has been a very long ordeal,” said Circuit Judge Shannon Clark. “I see the anguish on your faces.”

Freeman was indicted by the Pike County Grand Jury in May 2010 on three counts of sodomy first degree, two counts of enticing a child, and one count of attempted sodomy first degree. One count of enticing a child and one count of sodomy were dropped during a Dec. 11, 20011 court appearance, pursuant to Freeman entering a guilty plea for all other charges.

Freeman, who was 20 at the time of his arrest, was accused of sexual misconduct with children he came in contact with between 2005 to 2010 while working as a part-time scorekeeper at Troy Parks and Recreation and through Freeman’s involvement with Bush Memorial Baptist Church. Investigators reported that 17 victims came forward, but some families didn’t want to put children through a trial, and in some cases there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute.

Before she determined a sentence, Clark said she took into account the crime and its consequences, Freeman’s background and the possible impact of the sentence to society.

Although Freeman’s attorney had argued this was the first time the defendant had been in trouble with the law and that the incidents were isolated, Clark said she disagreed.

“I see these events as anything but isolated and uncontrollable,” Clark said.

Clark also said she took into consideration testimony from a psychologist hired by the defense. Freeman was diagnosed with a behavioral disorder, pedophilia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“The reality is that you are of greater chance to re-offend because of your diagnoses.”

For one count of first-degree sodomy, Freeman received 25 years. He also received 10 years for a count of attempted sodomy, 25 years for another count of first-degree sodomy and five years for enticing a child for immoral purposes.

Because the sodomy charges involve minors under the age of 12, there is no chance for parole on those counts. However, he could be granted parole during the five years he received for enticing a child.

Freeman was also ordered to reimburse the state, pay court fees, give $50 to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission Fund, pay any restitution to victims deemed appropriate by the state, enroll in a sexual offender treatment program, register as a sex offender and observe 10 years of post-release supervision.

The victims’ family and friends embraced after the sentencing was over. Freeman’s family exited the courtroom quietly.

“It’s bittersweet,” said a family friend of some of the children involved. “Nobody wins here.”

Freeman was taken into custody by the sheriff and District Attorney Tom Anderson said he will first be transferred to Kilby Correctional Facility.

“He is going to be an old man when, if at all, he gets out of prison,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the State was very satisfied with Clark’s decision and hopes it will provide some peace for the victims.

“[Parents] are going to be able to go to their children today and say, ‘Mr. Freeman is not going to be able to lay a hand on you or another child for a very long time,’ ” Anderson said.