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Confessed child molester sentenced in Gulfport

The Gulfport Police Department started investigating Thomas Shaver, 51, in February 2017 after...
The Gulfport Police Department started investigating Thomas Shaver, 51, in February 2017 after receiving a complaint that he had committed sexual assaults against a child. (Photo source: Gulfport Police Dept.)
Updated: Aug. 15, 2018 at 5:27 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Harrison County man will spend the next decade behind bars for molesting a young Gulfport girl for that same length of time.

The Gulfport Police Department started investigating Thomas Shaver, 51, in February 2017 after receiving a complaint that he had committed sexual assaults against a child.

Prosecutors say Shaver had recently undergone sex addiction therapy and called the victim, now in her 20s, to confess committing multiple sex crimes against her when she was underage. The victim was able to record that conversation and provide a copy to police.

Prosecutors said the crimes took place over the course of a 10-year period, ending approximately five years before they were reported to law enforcement.

During sentencing, the defendant claimed the crimes were unknown until he confessed and went to sex therapy. Judge Bourgeois quickly corrected him by pointing out "the victim knew."

The victim also addressed the court and said, "He betrayed my trust. I am healing and moving on with my life."

"You took something away from her – her innocence, and destroyed a family," Bourgeois stated before imposing sentencing.

After the sentence was announced, Shaver turned around to openly apologize to the victim, who was visibly shaken.

ADA Alison Baker, who prosecuted the case said, "No matter the degree of the abuse, no matter how much time has passed since the abuse, it leaves lasting emotional scars for the victims."

Because of the nature of the crime, Shaver will have to serve the entire length of his sentence, day-for-day, and register as a sex offender.

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