Convicted child abuser gets maximum sentence
Published 11:39 pm Friday, May 30, 2014
A man who subjected a child to inappropriate contact for two years has been sentenced to 10 years for the crime.
“We were very pleased with the sentence,” said Assistant District Attorney Josh Wilson, prosecutor for the trial and the sentencing. “In fact, that was what the we had asked for.”
A jury found Lawrence Lewis Jr. guilty of sexual abuse last month. Pike County Circuit Judge Thomas Head could have sentenced Lewis to as little as a year and a day for the class c felony.
Ten years was the maximum sentence.
Wilson said Thursday’s sentence was fair and just for several reasons.
“The acts were egregious and he used his authority to take advantage of [the victim], just the combination of all of the facts surrounding the case” warranted a tough sentence, Wilson said.
Lewis originally was accused of and pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual abuse against a female over the age of 12. He entered the plea shortly before his trial was to start last fall, but the plea was set aside after the district attorney’s office learned that the abuse began when the child was 7 years old.
Lewis returned to court to face the first-degree felony charge April 22. The trial started and rested in a day.
The victim, now 18, was the key witness for the prosecution.
“[The victim] carried this for five years before she ever tried to speak up,” Wilson said.
In her testimony, the victim shared how the abuse had impacted her life.
“It’s been a long ordeal for her family. She had to carry that for the last 10 years of her life,” Wilson said. “She has finally found justice.”
The jury returned the guilty verdict Wednesday morning. Wilson said he was pleased with the outcome and hearing the verdict was an emotional experience for the victim.
“I just applaud her strength and courage to get up and testify about a number of incidents that she endured. It really says a lot about her character,” he said.
J. Carlton Taylor, Lewis’ attorney, filed an oral notice of appeal immediately following the verdict. He has 42 days from Thursday’s sentencing to file a written appeal.
Lewis is out on an appeal bond pending the case.