20191207-hd-wilks

Matthew Allen Wilks, 25, center, appears in Cabell Circuit Judge Christopher D. Chiles’ courtroom Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, with defense attorney Ray Nolan for a reconsideration of sentencing.

HUNTINGTON — A Lesage man convicted of sexually assaulting four young boys on dozens of occasions will spend decades in prison after pleading guilty to the crime.

Matthew Allen Wilks, 25, previously pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual abuse by a person in position of trust and was sentenced by Cabell Circuit Judge Christopher D. Chiles to serve 20 to 40 years in prison, with 50 years of post-incarceration supervised release after his release.

Two of the counts, which call for a sentence of 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment each, will run consecutively, with the remaining two running concurrent to the other two charges.

Wilks was originally jailed in April 2017 and later indicted by a Cabell County grand jury on 70 charges, including 35 counts of sexual abuse by a person in position of trust, 27 counts of first-degree sexual assault and eight counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

Wilks returned to court Thursday seeking reconsideration of his sentencing, which Chiles denied.

Chiles said he got a “heck of a deal” by just being allowed to plead to the four counts, when he had been charged with 70.

“(I) see absolutely no basis to reconsider this sentencing at all,” he said.

Wilks declined to speak at the hearing and did not apologize. His attorney, Ray Nolan, said Wilks had a limited criminal history prior to his arrest in this case in asking for leniency.

Assistant prosecutor Lauren Plymale said the victims and their families were too traumatized by the incidents to attend the hearing to give victim impact statements.

Wilks was arrested April 11, 2017, after an investigation by the Cabell County Sheriff’s Office accused him of sexually assaulting two boys under 12 years old over an 11-month period at a residence in Ona.

The first two victims told their mother Wilks called the abuse a “game” and would offer candy for them to perform sex acts on him, and vice versa, reports state. Complaints state the abuse happened on at least eight occasions.

He was scheduled to undergo a polygraph test, but when he did not appear, Cabell County sheriff’s deputies issued a warrant for his arrest.

After his arrest, Cabell County sheriff’s deputies interviewed two additional boys who made the same accusations.

Of the 70 counts, 32 represent allegations made by the first victim, 20 the second, 16 the third, and two involve allegations made by a fourth.

Nolan asked Chiles to allow Wilks to be transported to the most appropriate prison to serve a sexual abuse sentence as soon as possible.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.

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