BEAUFORT, SC (June 23, 2021) – A 65-year-old Bluffton man accused of sexually abusing two young girls is headed to prison for 35 years.
John Thomas Basile was convicted Wednesday of four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, following two days of testimony at the Beaufort County Courthouse. Prior to the start of the trial, Basile also pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
A 5-year-old victim first disclosed the abuse in July 2019 to a female relative while visiting the woman’s home. Following the disclosure, the woman brought the girls to Coastal Carolina Hospital, where law enforcement and social services were notified.
Julie Kate Keeney of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office prosecuted the case.
“The girls’ recollection of these multiple events has been very specific, detailed and has remained consistent throughout this whole process,” Keeney said. “The details these girls shared are not age-appropriate things a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old should know about.”
During an interview with law enforcement, Basile initially denied any abuse. Eventually, he admitted to committing sexual acts on both girls and to taking nude photographs of them.
A Beaufort County General Sessions jury deliberated less than an hour before returning a guilty verdict. He received 25 years for the four first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges, all to be served concurrently. He received a 15-year sentence on one of the two charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, also to be served concurrently. Basile also received a 10-year sentence for the second third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. That sentence is to be served consecutively for a total of 35 years in prison.
Circuit Court Judge R. Ferrell Cothran Jr. handed down the sentence.
Assistant Solicitor Rachel Janowski assisted in prosecuting the case.
Keeney is a member of the Solicitor’s Office Special Victims Unit, which prosecutes sexual assault, domestic violence and other crimes against vulnerable people.