Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that RONALD DARLING, dob: 8/18/1964 of Branson, Missouri plead guilty without a plea agreement to three counts of statutory sodomy in the first degree Thursday. In October of last year the Taney County Sheriffâ€™s Department in connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at the residence of RONALD DARLING on information that RONALD DARLING had sexually abused a victim of less than two years old. At the residence officers recovered video of sexual acts performed on the victim dating back to when the victim was at most six (6) months old. RONALD DARLING was developed as a suspect in this sexual abuse from postings and exchanges by him on the Internet.
Formal sentencing in the case is set for October 11, 2007. Each of the three counts of the unclassified felony of statutory sodomy in the first degree carries with it a range of punishment of ten (10) years to life imprisonment. As a result of the plea RONALD DARLING could receive up to a maximum punishment of three consecutive life sentences at sentencing.
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