Gautier man sentenced to 60 years in sexual assault of child

Gautier man sentenced to 60 years in sexual assault of child

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Gautier man will spend the next 60 years behind bars for sexually assaulting a child.

Jerome Mack Austin, 41, was found guilty Wednesday of two counts of sexual battery. His sentence will run day-for-day, with each count running consecutively to each other, for a total sentence of 60 years. Upon his release, he will have to register as a sex offender.

According to authorities, the abuse was of a 12-year-old girl and occurred between Nov. 1, 2010, and May 31, 2011, in Jackson County. The victim told her mother about the abuse, which led to an investigation by Gautier Police Department.

After an indictment was returned against Austin, authorities were able to locate him in Oregon and extradite him back to Mississippi.

Officials say they hope Austin's long sentence will serve as a warning to other criminals.

"I hope this 60-year day-for-day sentence sends the message to criminals to leave children alone," said District Attorney Tony Lawrence.

"The victim and her family waited a long time for today's verdict and sentencing," said Assistant District Attorney Shon Ellerby stated. "She is a survivor, and I hope today represents a fresh start with the satisfaction that justice was served."

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