By MELINDA WILLIAMS
A Fairlawn man who pleaded guilty in 2009 to sexually battering a two-year-old child will serve five more years in prison after a judge told him Friday, “you basically thumbed your nose at probation.”
During a probation revocation hearing in Pulaski County Circuit Court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Fleenor called 45-year-old Curtis Brian Slusher a “poster child for the type of person we need to know the whereabouts of at all times.”
Fleenor accused Slusher of “doing about everything he could possibly do to not stay in touch with his probation officer,” J.C. Castillo.
Prefacing his comments by saying that he believes Slusher tried to be cooperative while on probation, Castillo said Slusher tried to get a job locally, but wasn’t having any success, so he wanted to move to Chesapeake.
Castillo was in the process of trying to get Slusher’s probation and parole transferred to that area, including finding Slusher an approved place to live, when Slusher went ahead with the move before approval was obtained.
Slusher was forced to move back to Pulaski County, even though he already had obtained employment on the coast, when the landlord of the apartment complex where Slusher was living objected to having a sex offender living there.
Castillo said he doesn’t think Slusher was trying to avoid him by moving to Chesapeake without approval, “It just wasn’t the smartest decision he ever made.”
That situation, coupled with Slusher being charged and convicted of being drunk in public during the spring of 2012 seemed to be “the decline of his probation,” said Castillo.
He noted that Slusher was living with a sister in Dublin and went on a drinking binge one night, busting out a window to gain entry to the residence. “That was an issue of concern for us,” said Castillo. “Plus, I was having difficulty confirming his residence.”
Although he was able to get Slusher into an alcohol recovery program, Castillo said Slusher failed to complete the program. Castillo told the judge he lost contact with Slusher around the first of April and didn’t know his whereabouts until he was arrested at the end of May.
Fleenor pointed out Slusher has a criminal record that dates back to 1988 and that this is the fifth time Slusher has been brought before courts on probation violations. Slusher “has an inability to abide by conditions of probation,” said Fleenor. He called Slusher’s conviction of aggravated sexual battery of a two-year-old “a very serious crime,” and said he considers it to be “a violent sex offense.”
The prosecutor also questioned whether Slusher has been registering his address with the Sex Offender Registry as required by law.
Noting that Slusher has nine years, two months and 11 days subject to revocation on convictions of sexual battery and grand larceny, Fleenor asked the judge to revoke at least five years.
“I’d understand if you wanted to revoke it all,” he told Judge Marcus Long Jr. “Regardless, I ask that you keep him on probation.”
The probation office wouldn’t have given Slusher the breaks he was given if he had been a “major problem” while on probation, defense attorney Chris Munique told the judge. He said Slusher’s probation would have been revoked much earlier if his whereabouts were unknown.
“He came back from Chesapeake when he was told to,” Munique said of Slusher. He pointed out sentencing guidelines recommend revocation of three to four years, not five or more.
However, Judge Long chose to “deviate upward” from the guidelines, saying Slusher needs therapy.
Noting that this is Slusher’s third probation revocation hearing on the grand larceny conviction, Long revoked the full four years, two months and 11 days remaining on the sentence. “In my mind, three strikes and you’re out,” he told the defendant.
Judge Long also revoked one of five years remaining on the sexual battery sentence, giving Slusher five years total to serve.
The judge urged Slusher to complete therapeutic programs while incarcerated, if he meets the qualifications to participate.
“It really concerns me when sex offenders abscond,” he added.