FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFSM/WCPO) -- Because of a pardon handed down by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin this week, a man convicted of raping a child in Kenton County walked out of prison a free man on Wednesday.
Officials say he will not have to register as a sex offender, and he can even apply to have the conviction wiped from his record.
Instead of serving the 23-year sentence a Kenton County jury recommended, 41-year-old Micah Schoettle is free after less than 18 months behind bars.
The prosecutor in his case, the victim’s family and others on social media have railed against Bevin’s decision to pardon Schoettle, one of 428 Kentuckians he pardoned or whose sentences he commuted earlier this week.
The middle-school student who first accused Schoettle in 2016 told Florence police he had repeatedly sexually assaulted her since she was 9 years old.
Though a jury convicted Schoettle of rape, sodomy and sexual abuse in 2018, he walked free with the governor’s pardon Wednesday.
In the pardon, Bevin wrote that the case relied on more testimony than physical evidence, and he did not believe the victim’s accusations were true, the Associated Press reports.
Law enforcement will not monitor Schoettle, since he will not have to register as a sex offender in Northern Kentucky, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders.
Sanders said the governor’s office never contacted prosecutors, victims or local law enforcement about clemency for Schoettle.