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Sex offender who made lewd remarks to Decatur cheerleaders sentenced to 3½ years prison

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DECATUR — Terry L. Rufty, a convicted child sex offender who admitted making obscene suggestions and lewd comments to a group of Decatur cheerleaders on their school grounds, was sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison Monday.

Rufty, 46, pleaded guilty to a charge of indecent solicitation of a child, a Class 3 felony; several other sex offense charges were dismissed in a plea deal negotiated by Rufty’s defense attorney, Timothy Tighe. The possible sentence range was 2 to 10 years.

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A sworn police affidavit about the case said the offense happened the afternoon of June 16 as Rufty was walking by St. Teresa High School. Decatur police Officer Robert Murray said Rufty had seen a group of cheerleaders and their parents cleaning up from a car wash fundraiser and called out to them multiple times.

When one 49-year-old woman present told Rufty to leave, Murray said he replied: “‘Go to hell,' and then dared her to call the police.” Rufty was arrested within 25 minutes.

Assistant Macon County State’s Attorney Kate Kurtz said Rufty is already a registered predatory sex offender, having been sentenced to prison previously for the criminal sexual assault of a child. He also has a previous conviction for failure to register as a sex offender.

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Kurtz told Judge Thomas Griffith that Rufty should be given a substantial punishment. “The people do feel a significant sentence in this case is appropriate to protect the public,” she said.

Rufty took the stand to tell Griffith he apologized for what he had done and “took full responsibility for it.” Tighe then argued for a two-year sentence, citing Rufty’s willingness to admit his guilt and the fact that he has a history of mental illness.

Griffith told Rufty he had committed a “troubling offense” and a prison term beyond two years was appropriate. “A sentence of probation would deprecate the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct and a sentence to the department of corrections is necessary to protect the public,” Griffith added.

Rufty also was ordered to pay a $500 fine and must continue registering as a sex offender.


Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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