MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — A retired Ball State University journalism professor who pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after being accused of molesting a boy has been placed on probation for 18 months.

Eighty-one-year-old Melvin Lee Sharpe learned his sentence Thursday after pleading guilty in February to battery resulting in bodily injury. He was accused of sexually assaulting a boy over a five-year period starting when the child was 7.

Defense attorney Kelly Bryan said Sharpe had consistently denied he had any sexual intent when he showered with the child. The Star Press reports Sharpe read a statement in court maintaining his intent was to teach the youth how to properly clean himself.

Sharpe retired from Ball State in 2007. He specialized in public relations.

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Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com