Plea change hearing set for Britt man charged with sexual abuse, illegal distribution of vapes to minors

BRITT — A Britt man accused of sexual abuse and the illegal distribution of vape cartridges to minors is pleading guilty.

18-year-old Jeremy Beard was charged in early December with two counts of second-degree sexual abuse, a Class B felony, as well as two counts of soliciting a child for a sexual act, a Class D felony. Criminal complaints accused Beard of having sex with a girl between the ages of 11 and 12 on August 20th and September 1st at a residence in Britt.

A separate criminal complaint filed two weeks later in Hancock County District Court states that an officer was notified on November 21st about a juvenile having vapes on school grounds, with one containing THC. On November 28th, Britt police received another call from the school about another juvenile vaping on school grounds.

Police say they interviewed the juvenile who said Beard had provided the vape cartridges, and text messages from Beard’s phone also provided evidence that he was allegedly distributing the cartridges to minors.

Beard was charged with two counts of drug distribution to a minor, each charge a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

A plea agreement filed on Tuesday in Hancock County District Court shows that in the sexual abuse case, Beard has pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree sexual abuse, with prosecutors recommending a 25-year prison sentence, with a formal plea change hearing taking place on February 21st.

Court records dealing with the vape distribution case show a plea change hearing has been set for that same date, but no details of a plea agreement had been filed.