Etowah County man pleads guilty to sexual abuse of child under 12

An Etowah County man has pled guilty on five charges of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 and admitted to law enforcement agents that he was glad he was finally caught because he "knew he had a problem," says the Etowah County District Attorney.

Phillip Ray Menefee, 32, from Collinsville, entered five guilty pleas to the charges of sexual abuse of a child under 12, first degree rape, incest and two counts of sodomy. He appeared before Judge Bill Rhea on Monday, Sept. 26.

Menefee was questioned after the child disclosed several instances of sexual abuse that occurred from the time she was 7 until she was 10 years old. Debbi Barnett with the Etowah County Sheriff's Department, the James M. Barrie Center for Children and the Department of Human Resources investigated the case. Menefee admitted to the allegations when questioned by law enforcement officers.

"Menefee gave graphic details of the sexual acts in his confession to law enforcement.   He claimed that he had never engaged in this conduct with any child other than the victim in these cases," a news release about the case states.

Jimmie Harp, Etowah County D.A., said Menefee will face up to 20 years in prison for the sexual abuse charge, 10 years on the incest charge and up to 99 years or life imprisonment for each charge of sodomy or rape. The sentences could be run consecutively or concurrently, Harp said.

Meneffee's sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 8 in the courtroom of Judge Rhea.

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