Sexual Assault Plea Leads To Active Prison Term

Caleb Matthew Hale, 27, of Denver, N.C., will serve an active prison sentence of 12 to 19 years following his conviction for attempted statutory rape of a child younger than 15 during Catawba County Superior Court on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.

The Honorable Justin N. Davis, Superior Court Judge from Gaston County, imposed the terms of the plea arrangement after Hale entered the guilty plea.

The defendant will serve his period of incarceration in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections. He also will have to register as a sex offender for a period of 30 years.

On September 7, 2021, the sexual act was witnessed by a third party who reported the activity to law enforcement. A sexual assault kit and DNA collection confirmed that Hale was the person responsible for molestation of the 14-year-old female victim.

During a forensic interview of the victim by the Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center of Catawba County (CAPC), the victim disclosed that the activity had taken place on multiple occasions for approximately 10 months, starting in December 2020.

The victim wrote a statement that was read to the Court. In it, she said, “No one should ever be exposed to his grooming again. I trusted him. I looked up to him … One day, he turned into a completely different person I didn’t even know existed.”

The case was investigated by Mike Crisp of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the CAPC. Assistant District Attorney Jessica Phillips handled prosecution for the State with the aid of Legal Assistant Dea Crowe.