HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) — A criminal case from nearly 50 years ago came to a close on Monday. Melvin Nicholson Sr., a 78-year-old Madisonville man, pleaded guilty to rape stemming back to an incident in 1975.

The victim was impregnated during the rape, deputies say. According to court records, Nicholson was arrested for Rape in the 3rd Degree in 1976, but posted bail and was released from the Hopkins County Jail.

Months after the arrest, officials say the victim gave birth to a boy that was removed from her shortly after being born.

Hopkins County Circuit Court criminal proceedings followed Nicholson’s release from jail until 1978, then the case went silent until 2021.

After over 40 years, the child reviewed Kentucky Social Services and was able to get in contact with his mother. Once reunited, deputies say they opened a new investigation.

Using DNA evidence from the mother, the victim and Nicholson, investigators say the 1975 allegations were consistent showing that the child was conceived during the rape.

In 2022, the Hopkins County Grand Jury indicted Melvin of Rape in the 3rd Degree, which was a Class D felony in 1975.

On March 27, 2023, Nicholson pleaded guilty to 3rd Degree Rape. According to deputies, Nicholson was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and a 20 year registration with the sex offender registry.