Former DOC officer pleads

Published 8:34 pm Friday, February 17, 2012

A former N.C. Department of Corrections officer was sentenced to a minimum of 26 years, 1 month, and a maximum of 32 years, 10 months, in the N.C. Department of Correction prison system in Beaufort County Superior Court on Thursday.
Brett Allan Leverton, 38, of 101 Greenbriar Lane, Washington, formerly of Fire Tower Lane in Pinetown, pled guilty to multiple offenses of statutory rape, statutory sex offense, and incest. Leverton’s last known employer before the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into reported sexual offenses was the N.C. Department of Corrections, at its facility in Hyde County.
Superintendent of Hyde Correctional Institution, Mike Hardee, confirmed that Leverton worked as a corrections officer in the prison for “about a year” before his last day on Jan. 20, 2011. According to a news release, it was only five days after he left the job that the sheriff’s office responded to a report of a sexual abuse that had occurred at the Fire Tower Lane residence in Pinetown. He was subsequently charged with one count statutory rape/sex offense of a person who is 13, 14, 15, years old by a defendant who is at least six years older than the victim, and one count of incest.
However, it was during an unrelated investigation of another man, Arthur Stanley Cota, 50, of Bay Drive in Chocowinity, that sheriff’s office investigators discovered information implicating Leverton in the crimes to which he pled guilty.
“They had common victims,” said Maj. Kenneth Watson of the sheriff’s office, adding that the information was realized during interviews with Cota’s victims.
“At that point we began a second investigation, even as we continued the one with Mr. Cota,” Watson explained.
Leverton was arrested in Taylor, Mich., on Oct. 17 of last year and subsequently extradited to Beaufort County on Oct. 28.
“He had left the area,” said Watson. “There was quite an extended period of time where his whereabouts were unknown.”
Three days after his return to the area, additional charges against Leverton were handed down by a Beaufort County Grand Jury: two more counts of incest; three counts of incest with a child who is 13, 14, and 15 years old by a defendant who is at least six years older than the victim; as well we as three more counts of the initial statutory rape charge.
A statement release by the Beaufort County district attorney’s office reads: “Crimes such as these traumatize and shatter the lives of the victim.”
The news release then explains the state’s reasoning behind allowing sex offenders to plea bargain, negotiating for lesser charges and reduced sentences: “… often it is in the best interest of the victim to avoid the trauma of having to relive the abuse by coming to court. The resolution of these cases brings closure to the criminal prosecution of Leverton and allows the victim the opportunity to move on in life without concern about where Leverton will be for the next thirty-two years.”
Leverton will not necessarily serve that time in the Hyde Correctional Institution, according to Hardee.
“If he was employed here for some time, it would probably be in the best interests to house him elsewhere,” Hardee explained. Leverton’s past employment “would throw up a red flag.”
One sheriff’s office investigation led to another, larger, investigation. In the first case, Cota was arrested and charged for crimes associated with videotaping children under 16 engaged in inappropriate acts, states the original sheriff’s office news release. He also pled his sentence down Thursday, though when he’s released after a minimum of 50 months, a maximum of 78 months, it will be with many conditions: he must enroll in treatment for sex offenders, register as a sex offender, enroll in the sex offender program, submit to nine months of intensive probation that includes electronic monitoring, and have no contact with the victims.