Crime

Lexington twin, 78, pleads guilty to sex abuse charges

Jack Elliot Cassidy, left, and Jerry Cassidy.
Jack Elliot Cassidy, left, and Jerry Cassidy. Photos provided

One of the 78-year-old twins charged in a case of sexual abuse dating to the 1970s pleaded guilty to nine counts Tuesday morning in Fayette Circuit Court.

Jerry Cassidy pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, two counts of sodomy, two counts of sexual abuse and four counts of indecent or immoral practice with another. He could serve up to 20 years in prison.

His twin brother, Jack Elliot Cassidy, pleaded guilty to nine sexual abuse charges last August. He was sentenced in October to 20 years in prison.

The twins were Lexington Boy Scout troop leaders in the ’70s, when the crimes occurred, according to their defense attorney, Fred Peters.

Jerry Cassidy is now in poor health and was unable to raise his right hand when he swore to tell the truth in court Tuesday. He also had a difficult time hearing Judge Kimberly Bunnell and had to use headphones to hear what was going on.

While asking him whether he’d committed the crimes, Bunnell, Peters and prosecutor Lou Anna Red Corn had to explain some of the charges in detail and remind him of the names of the victims before he could say “yes.”

Jerry Cassidy eventually told Bunnell he’d committed each of the crimes he was charged with, except one charge, which was dismissed.

Peters said it was a “very difficult case” by the time he got involved. “Police had already searched the residence very thoroughly with search warrants and both Cassidys had confessed to the crimes.”

Jerry Cassidy’s guilty plea hearing was been postponed several times because of poor health, Peters said.

As a part of the Cassidy brothers’ plea deals, they will have to relinquish their home, Bunnell said. Because of problems with his hand, Jerry Cassidy won’t be able to sign the necessary paperwork to give up the home, so he authorized Peters to sign for him.

In recent years, the twins had takensteps to turn their lives around, Peters said. But after the charges were filed against them in 2014, the church they were going to asked them to stop coming.

“The Cassidys are extremely remorseful; they know what they did was wrong,” Peters said. “And I think they’re very ill; I think they’ve been ill for a long time.”

Having the case go to trial would have been humiliating for the twins and the victims, Peters said.

“Both pleaded guilty because they did not want the victims to have to testify in court,” Peters said. “They know they’re probably going to go to prison, that they are probably going to die in prison.”

Jerry Cassidy is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 2.

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