Last month, Amy Stouffer pleaded guilty to lesser charges and agreed to testify at her husband's child sex abuse trial - but it may not be necessary for her to hold up her end of the bargain.
Kenneth Stouffer, 39, of New Cumberland appeared in a Hancock County courtroom Friday for a status hearing before Judge Fred Fox II, who set a return date of Jan. 30 in the case. Fox indicated the possibility of accepting a plea agreement at that time, but said if no such agreement is reached, he will take up pretrial motions at that hearing.
Kenneth Stouffer faces multiple felony charges, including two counts each of first-degree sexual assault and child abuse creating a risk of injury; one count each of displaying obscene matter to a minor and displaying obscene matter to a minor with the intent to seduce; and other related charges. He and his wife, 34-year-old Amy Stouffer of East Liverpool, were arrested in February after a lengthy investigation by the Hancock County Sheriff's Department.
The Stouffers' arrests came after the sheriff's department collaborated with Child Protective Services for more than a year and a half. Deputy Matthew Harvey, who led the investigation, previously said it took months of counseling before the alleged victims opened up about what they went through.
Amy Stouffer began a three- to 15-year prison sentence on Dec. 27 after she pleaded guilty to three counts of gross child neglect creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury. Her original indictment charged her with two counts of sexual abuse and other related charges.
Cross previously said he agreed to the plea deal because Amy Stouffer's testimony would be key in strengthening the case against her husband, who Cross said was primarily responsible for the alleged abuse. At that time, Cross said his goal was a prison sentence of at least 20 years for Kenneth Stouffer.
Following Friday's hearing, deputies returned Kenneth Stouffer to the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville, where he has been held on $250,000 bond since his arrest.