An Omaha man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the sexual abuse of a child in a case that had originally included charges related to child sex trafficking.
Joe R. Lockett, 38, had pleaded guilty in January to first-degree sexual assault of a child, a class IB felony punishable by 20 years to life imprisonment. On Wednesday, Dodge County District Court Judge Geoffrey Hall sentenced him to 20 years to 20 years and a day, as per an agreement that Lockett made with prosecutors.
Prior to Wednesday’s hearing, Lockett had filed a motion to withdraw his prior plea, claiming that he had received ineffective representation from his prior counsel. He also claimed that he’d been misled about the terms of his plea agreement, according to a court filing.
But during the Wednesday hearing, after conferring with his attorney Nicholas Wurth, Lockett withdrew the motion and agreed to proceed directly to sentencing with a joint agreement for 20 years in prison.
Hall explained that, legally, sentences need to be given with a minimum and maximum sentence — with the minimum sentence less than the maximum. Because of that, Lockett’s official sentence is 20 years to 20 years and a day. He also received 188 days worth of credit for time served.
Lockett was arrested in October 2018 after the Dodge County Sheriff's Department stopped his vehicle as it exited a truck stop on Broad Street. Lockett allegedly failed to stop at a posted stop sign, according to a police affidavit.
Law enforcement found a 15-year-old girl in the vehicle with Lockett, who Lockett claimed to be his daughter’s friend. But, the affidavit notes that the girl was actually a runaway from Iowa. The juvenile then told officers that she and Lockett had engaged in sexual intercourse. Police also said that they had found several illicit photos of the juvenile in Lockett’s possession.
The affidavit also notes that the juvenile told officers that Lockett was attempting to prostitute her out. Lockett was initially charged with a class IB felony of sex trafficking, but that charge, along with others, were dropped as part of his plea agreement with the state.
Lockett must also register as a sex offender.
Correction: An earlier version of this story listed the incorrect arresting agency. The Dodge County Sheriff's Department arrested Joe Lockett.