Man convicted of child molestation

Published 6:16 pm Friday, November 16, 2012

A Decatur County jury found a local man guilty of aggravated child molestation and child molestation at the conclusion of a trial this week, according to District Attorney Joe Mulholland.

Billy J. Carver, 63, of Decatur County, was accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy sometime in 2008, Mulholland said Friday. The victim told a juvenile relative of the abuse sometime after, but due to special circumstances, the crime wasn’t reported to law enforcement until June 2012, Mulholland said.

A trial was held this week in the courtroom of Chief Superior Court Judge A. Wallace Cato, with Mulholland prosecuting for the state and Bainbridge attorney Gil Murrah representing Carver.
The jury deliberated on Thursday afternoon and returned guilty verdicts that evening on the charges of child molestation, aggravated child molestation and allowing a minor to view pornography.

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Mulholland said Carver will be sentenced later this month. According to Georgia law, “a person convicted of a first offense of child molestation shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years.” Carver will also have to register as a sex offender, but will be offered counseling by the Department of Corrections.

Child molestation, as defined by Georgia law, occurs when an adult makes contact with the sexual organs of a child. Aggravated child molestation occurs when an adult physically injures the child or commits an act of sodomy, Mulholland said.

A key witness for the prosecution was a forensic psychologist from Thomasville, Ga., who testified about how children who are victims of molestation can sometimes delay their disclosure, because they are reluctant for others to know about it, according to Mulholland.

Mulholland said Judge Cato agreed for the victim to receive long-term care arranged by the District Attorney’s Office, which has a victim’s service advocate and access to other services that can help the child recover emotionally and mentally.