HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A 69-year-old Hancock County man will spend the rest of his life in prison after being found guilty Thursday of molesting a young girl.
Alex Jackie Pearson, a resident of the Kiln, was convicted of seven counts of sexual battery and molestation for crimes committed against a child who was under the age of 13.
The investigation began in October 2016 when the girl's mother found a sexual device in the child's bedroom. That's when the girl told her mother that she had been sexually abused by Pearson.
The mother contacted Hancock County Sheriff's Department, who reached out to Hope Haven Child Advocacy Center. The advocacy center performed a forensic interview of the child. Evidence from that interview led authorities to obtain additional disclosures, a search warrant, and more evidence.
The victim testified that Pearson committed multiple sexual acts on her over a period of almost two years. A professional counselor also testified that the child had disclosed several different types of behavior that were consistent with sexual abuse.
The investigation led Hancock County authorities on a search across the country to locate other potential victims of sexual abuse by Pearson.
“Investigator Lilly located a woman in a nearby state that reported and ultimately testified at trial that Pearson had also molested her more than 20 years ago under similar circumstances,” said Assistant District Attorney Chris Daniel, who prosecuted the case with ADA Alison Baker. “Prior to trial, Pearson attempted to bribe a witness in the case to prevent her from testifying and ‘settle the case within the family.' However, he was rearrested for the bribery attempt and this evidence was presented against him at trial."
At the sentencing, the girl's mother addressed the court, telling the judge, "He broke my family. He broke my trust and heart. Alex took my daughter’s innocence and purity that she can never get back.”
“I can’t understand what would cause a person to do such evil acts to a child," said Judge Chris Schmidt before handing down his sentence. "There are no more reprehensible and immoral acts. She will be forever changed. I can’t change that, but I can sentence you.”
Judge Schmidt then sentenced Pearson to 45 years in prison without the possibility of early release or parole.
“We are very pleased to see justice rendered today for the years of abuse perpetrated by this defendant," said District Attorney Joel Smith. “The bravery exhibited by this young lady and the diligence of the investigator led to today’s jury’s verdict.”