Augusta lawyer pleas down from felony rape to misdemeanors
12:00 pm, June 12th, 2012
The Augusta Chronicle reported that trial lawyer Joseph Neal Jr. has been sentenced to 100 hours of community service at a waste water treatment plant and three years of probation in a plea bargain that reduced a felony rape charge to misdemeanors.
The plea deal followed a morning of testimony from an 18-year-old baby sitter who claimed she was sexually assaulted Dec. 16 by Neal, 43, and his now ex-wife, the Chronicle reported. The newspaper said Augusta Superior Court Judge James Blanchard called the sewage treatment plant sentence “in keeping with the conduct in this case.” The misdemeanors include furnishing alcohol to someone under 21, possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct. The disorderly conduct charge was based on text messages he sent to the victim in which he allegedly described himself as a “sex god,” and said, “You can be our babysitter and sex slave LOL.”
The website of Neal Law Office describes Neal, an Augusta native and son of a trial lawyer, as a former assistant district attorney for the Augusta Judicial Circuit from 1993 to 1996 who prosecuted 1,000 felony cases and tried 100 of them before juries. In 1996, Neal took his experience into private practice, first with his father and then, starting in 2000, with his own firm, specializing in personal injury and wrongful death.
Neal’s bar listing shows he was admitted in 1993 after graduating from Mercer University Law School.