Woman bargains with man who hurt daughter, says he’s not living up to his end of the deal

Court documents at trial show the stipulations of his plea deal. (WCIV)

A North Charleston woman thought she had her child’s best interest at heart by keeping her from testifying against her alleged abuser.

Now, she thinks she failed her community.

Kim says Robert Lee Hudnell forced her daughter to touch him inappropriately at a neighborhood BBQ in Goose Creek in 2015. Another child was also involved.

ABC News 4 has made the decision only to use the woman's first name.

On May 20, 2015, Hudnell was arrested and booked into the Berkeley County Detention Center on two counts of criminal sexual conduct and one count of kidnapping.

“I wanted to throw up,” Kim recalled.

She and the parents of the other child decided not to go to trial, opting instead for a plea deal.

She didn’t want to put her daughter through the pain of seeing her abuser again.

“I was told if they did go to trial, he would be in the room,” Kim said. “That they could not shield him from their view.”

Kim said the terms of the deal were that Hudnell would plead guilty to kidnapping and assault and in exchange for no prison time, he would admit what he did in court.

He was also required to take a sex predator test to determine his threat to children, she said. The results would determine whether he would be placed on the South Carolina Sex Offender Registry.

“I’m just a regular girl,” she said. “I’m not an attorney. I don’t know how all of this works. I do know that he admitted it. That anybody can get the transcript from the courthouse. I read his confession."

Hudnell pleaded guilty under Alford to kidnapping and assault in October 2017.

An Alford plea carries the same sentencing and consequences as a guilty plea. By making an Alford plea, a defendant proclaims that he or she does not want a trial because the prosecution has evidence that the defendant believes will result in a conviction.

He was sentenced to ten years in prison, suspended to five years of probation. The Court further required him to undergo evaluation by Dr. William Burke to determine placement on the sex offender registry.

“He's at home,” Kim said. “If he's not placed on this list, it's a huge disservice to this community and to the children.”

Judge Kristi Harrington ordered a hearing for November 28, 2017 to make a determination whether Hudnell would be placed on the sex offender registry. Kim said she’s called several times to learn the results, and she still doesn’t have answers.

“I somewhat do regret not going to trial at this point,” she said. “I’ve morally got such an issue knowing that he might be walking around and he could possible get a job with the Boy Scouts, or subbing somewhere, or a church as a Sunday school teacher and these people would do a background check and him not be there.”

We reached out to Hudnell’s attorney for comment. We have not heard back.

Hudnell will appear in court to discuss the test results Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Berkeley County.

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