PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A 45-year-old man living in Pascagoula was sentenced to prison Monday for the touching of a child for lustful purposes and sexual battery. John Kirk Councilman pleaded guilty on March 2, to the charges involving a child who was below the age of 14.
"This defendant used his relationship with the victim's family to gain access to the child. This family trusted this man around their children and then betrayed that trust and left a wake of destruction and a loss of innocence. I am proud of the courage this child showed in telling of the abuse and standing up to prevent others from suffering at the hands of this defendant," District Attorney Tony Lawrence said.
Judge Dale Harkey sentenced Councilman to 15 years in prison for the four counts of touching of a child for lustful purposes. In addition, Councilman was fined $5,000 on each count. He must also pay court costs, a $1,000 mandatory payment to the Mississippi Children's Trust Fund and register as a sex offender.
On the two counts of sexual battery, Harkey sentenced Councilman to 35 years in jail, 20 years to serve, day-for-day and the remainder to serve on post release supervision. In addition, Councilman was fined $5,000 on each count and must pay $1,000 to the Mississippi Children's Trust Fund.
"So often, our children keep their abuse secret. This child showed incredible strength in coming forward about her abuse. Now, the abuse, the control and the manipulation have ended," Assistant District Attorney Angel Myers said.