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Newton man to be sentenced in sex abuse case

Perjury case pending trial

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 9:59 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 10:22 a.m. CDT

A Newton man charged two years ago with second-degree sexual abuse and child endangerment will be sentenced in Jasper County District Court in December.

Christopher L. Riggs, 26, was arrested June 16, 2015 after being accused of punching a 2-year-old child in the genitals, hitting a 4-year-old child in the mouth and sexually abusing an 11-year-old child.

Riggs entered an Alford plea, which states a person doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a likely conviction, during a hearing on Oct. 4. He will be sentenced Dec. 11.

According to police reports, the child’s mother said Riggs punched the 2-year-old in the genitals, causing a bruise. When officers spoke to the 11-year-old victim, she said Riggs hit the 4-year-old in the mouth, causing a swollen, split lip and a loose tooth.

When asked by officers if he had ever done anything to her, the victim said three to four weeks before his arrest he sexually assaulted her. Riggs allegedly told the victim she could not tell anyone because, “I could go to jail for a long time.”

Riggs and his girlfriend, Heather L. Hoover, 31, also face two counts of suborning perjury after police say Riggs and Hoover picked up two juveniles Sept. 1, 2016 and transported them to the Jasper County Attorney’s office for a deposition.

Police believe the purpose of the deposition was for the two juveniles to provide false testimony in an effort to assist Riggs’ defense. According to witness statements, Riggs and Hoover repeatedly pressured and coerced the juveniles into providing false testimony and provided them with the story they wanted them to tell in the deposition.

The juveniles later admitted Riggs and Hoover did drive them and tell them what to say.

Riggs is set to appear for a pre-trial conference Oct. 18 for the felony perjury charge. Hoover is scheduled for a pre-trial conference Oct. 11.

Contact Kayla Singletary at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or ksingletary@newtondailynews.com

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