The Herald Citizen

Posted April 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm

A man who was arrested last year on charges of raping a five-year-old girl is going to prison for 15 years.

Richard Lee Dial, 42, of Indian Hills Road, Cookeville, went before Judge Leon Burns in Criminal Court last week and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge in the case in exchange for the 15-year sentence, which he must serve at 100 percent.

Dial was arrested in February of 2012 on charges of three counts of rape of a child, all the incidents having occurred in December of 2010, according to an indictment issued by the Putnam grand jury.

Putnam Sheriff’s Detective Roger Cooper, Jr. investigated the case and did not publicly discuss any of the details, citing the need to protect the identity of the little girl.

He did say at the time of the arrest that Dial was an “acquaintance” of the child. He also said the child told an adult what had happened to her and that adult reported it to authorities.

After Detective Cooper secured an indictment in the case, he placed Dial’s photo on the Putnam Sheriff’s Department’s web site asking for information on Dial’s whereabouts, and someone provided a tip to let officers know where Dial could be found. He was arrested and jailed under a $100,000 bond.

Charged with three counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony, he went to court last Thursday, April 11 and pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, and the state dropped the other two charges.

He is to serve 15 years in prison and will be on community probation supervision for life. He will also be on the state’s sex offender registry.

He gets credit off the 15-year sentence for the 428 days he has spent in jail since being arrested in February 2012.

Assistant District Attorney Beth Willis represented the state in the case, and Cookeville attorney Phil Parsons represented Dial.