Man sentenced for multiple sex offenses

Published 3:45 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Chocowinity man has been sentenced to up to 22 and a half years in prison for sex offenses involving young girls.

Second Judicial District Attorney Seth Edwards announced Monday that Leslie Craig Nobles, 23, pleaded guilty to multiple sex offenses involving seven girls between the ages of 13 and 15. The crimes date back to 2012, when Nobles was 18 years old, and continued to the summer of 2016, when a 23-year-old Nobles sent an explicit photo of himself to a 14-year-old girl, according to officials.

The 2016 incident prompted the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office to re-open a case from 2012 that did not lead to an arrest, but after re-interviewing victims, witnesses and Nobles, he was charged with eight counts of statutory rape and three counts of statutory sex offense.

“The investigation showed that Nobles’ youngest victim was 13 years old while he was greater than nine years older. The investigation, which is still continuing, has so far revealed over nine victims,” stated a press release from the sheriff’s office that was released at the time of Nobles’ arrest.

“The age of consent in North Carolina is 16 as the law presumes a person under 16 is not mature enough to make an informed decision,” Edwards wrote Monday. “One such act in and of itself is bad enough, but to seek out and abuse seven young girls in unprecedented.”

Nobles served with the North Carolina Army National Guard’s 524th MP Company in Winterville, but has remained at the Beaufort County jail since his arrest in August of 2016. He will now serve an active prison term of at least 14 and a half years, up to 22 and a half years.

Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster also ordered Nobles to receive treatment for sex offenders while in prison and North Carolina law requires Nobles to register as a sex offender.