A man accused in a rape and kidnapping in Kemper County has entered a guilty plea.
Daniel Zales was originally accused of taking a woman by force, sexually assaulting her, and falsifying records so that the two could get married.
As part of a plea deal, the rape and kidnapping charges against Zales were dropped.
However, he pleaded guilty Monday to forgery. Zales has been sentenced to ten years in prison on that charge.
Zales was an employee at the Kemper County coal plant now under construction when the charges were first brought against him.
Kemper County Sheriff James Moore says Zales already had a criminal record, which he says isn't too uncommon for many of the workers there.
Moore said since construction on the coal plant began, the area has seen a significant increase in crimes. And he says his deputies have had to work even harder to try to keep a handle on the criminal activity.
"Drugs, burglary, the whole nine. We have a lot of people on our roads, a lot of people that don't have a driver's licenses," said Moore. "There are people that are here illegally. We have a lot of issues that we're dealing with on that part."
Moore says the sheriff's department has increased patrols in the area. The sheriff says he believes the crime should decrease once construction on the coal plant is complete.
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