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Northwood man pleads guilty to assault charge involving 11-year-old girl

BRENTWOOD – A Northwood man accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and received a two- to four-year state prison sentence.

Eddy James Folland, 48, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault as part of a negotiated disposition with county prosecutors.

Folland waived indictment on the second-degree assault charge and pleaded guilty on June 12 in Rockingham County Superior Court.

He was sentenced to the two- to four-year prison term at the conclusion of the hearing. Folland admitted as part of his plea that he caused "serious bodily injury" and "lasting psychological harm" to the girl on March 19, 2010.

Prosecutors dropped all the remaining charges in the case, including three counts of felonious sexual assault and a single count of aggravated felonious sexual assault as part of the agreement.

He had been accused of engaging in sexual acts with the girl between March 2012 and March 2012, according to court records.

The plea agreement was struck just before Folland was expected to go on trial on the sexual assault charges. His trial was expected to begin Monday.

Folland has already spent roughly 317 days behind bars awaiting trial. That time will count toward his state prison sentence.

As part of his sentence, Folland was barred by Judge Marguerite Wageling from having any contact direct or indirect contact with the girl – even through third parties - for at least a decade.

Prior to the plea deal, public defenders were seeking records from Facebook to aid in Folland's defense. A judge approved a request to obtain records from the social networking giant, but lawyers for Facebook reviewed the order and refused to turn over the materials.

Public defenders acknowledged in court filings that it was unlikely they would have enough time to pursue the issue.

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