Solicitor's Office secures sexual assault conviction against Alabama man
A 61-year-old Alabama man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing a 9-year-old relative during visits to her Bluffton home in 2013 and 2014.
Charles Alfred Dent, of Piedmont, Ala., was found guilty Thursday of two counts of disseminating obscene materials to a minor under 12 and first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
“This girl was incredibly brave, first to come forward and tell someone about the abuse, but also to remain strong throughout this whole process,” said Assistant Solicitor Alex Joseph, who prosecuted the case.
The girl first disclosed the abuse in the summer of 2014 to her mother's boyfriend at the time.
The child said Dent made her perform a sex act on him. During video of the child’s forensic interview, she describes how Dent went into the bathroom, took pictures of himself and showed her those photos. He also took provocative photos of the girl.
"The level of detail is so high," Joseph said during closing arguments Thursday. "This little girl consistently provides vivid descriptions that no 9-year-old should know."
A Beaufort County General Sessions jury of six women and six men deliberated for three hours before returning a guilty verdict late Thursday.
Dent received a 30-year sentence for the criminal sexual conduct with a minor charge and two 15-year sentences for disseminating obscene materials to a minor. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
Circuit Court Judge Alex Kinlaw Jr. handed down the sentence.
Dent is also facing child pornography charges in Alabama.
Joseph is a member of the Solicitor's Office's community prosecution team. She has been with the prosecutor's office since 2016. She was assisted by Assistant Solicitor Rebekah Luttrell, a member of the Special Victims Unit, a team launched in late 2017 with a federal Violence Against Women Act grant. The team focuses on prosecuting domestic violence cases in Beaufort and Jasper counties and sexual violence cases across the 14th Circuit.