EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut and AP) – An East Hartford man charged with molesting a 6-year-old girl has avoided prison after pleading to lesser charges.

The Journal Inquirer reports that James Doherty was sentenced to two years of conditional discharge Tuesday after pleading guilty under the Alford doctrine to third-degree assault and reckless endangerment. Conditional discharge is similar to probation.

Pleading under the doctrine means a defendant doesn’t admit guilt, but concedes there’s enough evidence to be convicted.

Prosecutors say Doherty touched the girl inappropriately and caused her pain.

Doherty initially was charged with first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, crimes that carry up to 45 years in prison. He has been free on $150,000 bond since September 2015.

The girl’s mother says her daughter has psychological problems and post-traumatic stress disorder.

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)  


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