A Utah State Prison inmate pleaded guilty Tuesday in 2nd District Court to a charge of sexually abusing a child when he was out on parole.

Jeffrey T. Nelson, 22, 8325 S. 11th East, Sandy, pleaded guilty to the second-degree felony in a plea negotiation with the Davis County Attorney's office. The charge carries a 1-to-15-year prison term.He was arraigned in 2nd District Court Feb. 2 on two charges of rape of a child, both first-degree felonies, and one misdemeanor charge of supplying alcohol to a minor. The rape charges carry prison terms of 5 years to life and minimum mandatory sentences of 5, 10, or 15 years.

Another first-degree felony charge, sodomy upon a child, was ordered dismissed after a preliminary hearing in Bountiful 4th Circuit Court. The incidents occurred Dec. 18 and 19 in Bountiful, according to court records.

Prosecutor Carvel Harward told Judge Douglas L Cornaby Tuesday that anticipated problems with getting the two primary witnesses 12- and 13-year-old girls to testify led to the plea bargain offer.

The 12-year-old girl was a willing participant in the first incident and testified reluctantly at Nelson's preliminary hearing, Harward said, adding the 13-year-old girl is a frequent runaway who can't be counted on to show up in court.

Nelson told the judge he had been drinking heavily the night of the incident.