North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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June 14, 2013

Updated: Locust Fork man pleads guilty to multiple sex crimes

LOCUST FORK — A Locust Fork man has confessed to multiple sex-related charges in Blount Circuit Court.

Wade Andrew Underwood Jr., 64, pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree sodomy, two counts of first-degree rape and four counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12 years of age.

Underwood was sentenced Thursday to a total of 160 years in prison, according to District Attorney Pamela Casey. He was originally indicted on one count of sodomy in January of last year, but an investigation found three more victims since that time.

“I am very concerned about the damage, psychologically and physically, that [Underwood] has done to these four victims," Casey said in a prepared statement. "This plea, given his age, will ensure that he does not have the opportunity to continue to prey upon innocent children ever again. Furthermore, the child victims will not have to endure the trauma and re-victimization that occurs by having to testify against him in a trial.”

Casey commended Investigator Sue Ashworth of the Blount County Sheriff’s Department, the Blount County Department of Human Resources, and the Blount County Child Advocacy Center for their work in securing the conviction against Underwood.

[Updated at 1:45 p.m. to add statement from Casey.]

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