DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — A Freeport man will serve 25 years in prison after he pleaded no contest Thursday to one count of lewd or lascivious molestation on a victim less than 12 years old.

Walton County Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells immediately sentenced Steven Alexander Pettit, 24, to the minimum mandatory prison term, according to the State Attorney's Office. Pettit must serve his full sentence; he will not be eligible for early release.

After his prison sentence is completed, Pettit will be on sex offender probation for the rest of his life and must wear an electronic monitor, the State Attorney's Office said. He also is designated as a sexual predator and can have no contact with the victim or any minors.

Pettit was charged in December 2016 after a 5-year-old child disclosed to her mother that Pettit had taken her to his room and touched her inappropriately. The mother immediately called law enforcement.

Pettit admitted to some of the allegations and DNA evidence collected at the scene matched his DNA.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case with help from the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center.