A Hardin County man has pleaded guilty to numerous charges in two counties in a matter that began as a child exploitation case, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Tuesday.

The attorney general’s Cyber Crimes Unit investigated Thomas Frazier Caso, 53, of Eliza­bethtown, after he reportedly participated in an online conversation seeking sex with a minor. Caso was indicted and pleaded guilty in Shelby County Circuit Court to unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sex, a Class D felony and second-degree persistent felony offender, a Class D felony.

Following his indictment for child exploitation, Caso was accused of threatening prosecutors in Shelby County for their involvement in his case. As a result, he was indicted and pleaded guilty in Shelby County Circuit Court to intimidating a participant in the legal process, a Class D felony; along with two misdemeanors, terroristic threatening third degree and harassing communications.

During the execution of a warrant for his arrest related to the two cases, Caso ran from officers who were trying to catch him. During the chase, he allegedly pepper-sprayed law enforcement. He subsequently was charged and pleaded guilty in Hardin County Circuit Court to third-degree assault, a Class D felony, and second-degree fleeing and/or evading, a misdemeanor.

“Our Cyber Crimes Unit is laser-focused on getting child predators offline and stopping them from causing harm to Kentucky’s children,” Cameron said in a news release. “I appreciate the partnership of local law enforcement in Shelby and Hardin Counties along with Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young, who worked with our Department of Criminal Investigations and Special Prosecutions Unit on these cases.”

Class D felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison on each count if convicted. Any misdemeanor sentences would run concurrently with the felonies.

However, under the plea agreement, Caso will have to register as a sex offender for 20 years and serve seven years in prison.

Caso has been lodged in the Hardin County Detention Center since his arrest Dec. 18, 2020, on the assault charge.

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