A White City man who pleaded guilty to multiple sex-related offenses was sentenced Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court to nearly 17 years in prison for the Measure 11 crimes.

A White City man who pleaded guilty to multiple sex-related offenses was sentenced Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court to nearly 17 years in prison for the Measure 11 crimes.

Dale Nickerson, 44, pleaded guilty in January to three counts of first-degree sexual abuse and was sentenced by Judge Tim Barnack to 200 months in prison, said Jackson County Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe.

Nickerson, a tow-truck driver, was charged in May 2009 with five counts each of first-degree rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration and sex abuse.

The 20 charges were related to abuse of a pre-teen female who was known to Nickerson.

The multiple assaults occurred over more than a year.

"The victim was approximately nine years old at the time the abuse began," said Hoppe.

Had Nickerson gone to trial, he would have been facing Jessica's Law, which gives a minimum 25-year sentence to anyone convicted of a violent sex crime, Hoppe said.

"The defendant cooperated with the police, confessed and agreed to plead guilty (to the three sex abuse charges) prior to trial," said Hoppe.

"We agreed to the plea bargain in exchange for him not putting the little girl through the ordeal of the trial."

Oregon State Police Detective Tom Harrison arrested Nickerson on May 6, 2009. The OSP investigation concluded Nickerson was involved in extensive sexual abuse of the victim that began approximately 11/2; years ago and continued until she contacted police the day of Nickerson's arrest.

Nickerson also was given 10 years' post-prison supervision and credit for time served since his arrest, Hoppe said. Nickerson has remained lodged in the Jackson County Jail, with bail set at $4 million.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.