Local man guilty of sexual battery on child

McPeak James Edward-webBy MELINDA WILLIAMS



It took a Pulaski County jury only 20 minutes Monday to return a guilty verdict against a Hiwassee man charged with the sexual battery of an 11-year-old child.

After learning from Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Fleenor that 59-year-old James Edward McPeak already has 1979 convictions for rape, forcible sodomy, abduction and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, the jury recommended McPeak serve the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

According to Fleenor, the victim testified she was left at McPeak’s home in the spring of 2011 and that both of them slept on a fold out sofa bed in the living room of the home. The girl is not being identified due to the nature of the case and her age.

Fleenor said the girl told the jury she awoke one evening to find McPeak touching her “privates” under her pajamas and underwear, so she rolled out of the bed and started to cry.

Fleenor said the victim indicated McPeak told her “it made him feel young.” She said McPeak also told her she better not tell anyone or he would go to jail.

A social worker and Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Billy Ritter testified McPeak denied having any inappropriate sexual contact with the child. However, when pressed about the incident, Fleenor said, McPeak told officers if he touched her it would have been accidental.

Defense attorney Greg Hagar pointed out to the jury that the victim told authorities in one interview that the incident occurred in 2010 and in another interview she said it was in 2011. He said the girl wasn’t even close to the date

In closing remarks, Fleenor made reference to evidence that the girl had an unstable home life and was moved around a lot. “When you move from town to town and school to school and home to home – when your mother leaves you with a child molester, the last thing on your mind is the date,” he told the jury.

Hagar objected to Fleenor calling McPeak a child molester, saying Fleenor was inflaming the jury. The court, however, overruled the objection.

McPeak will be formally sentenced Aug. 19. At that time, the sentencing judge can either impose the jury’s recommended sentence or reduce it if he sees fit.




10 Responses to Local man guilty of sexual battery on child

  1. Eddie

    April 30, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I think he should get the full 20 years. That’s whats wrong with our system today, people are found guilty and given a slap on the wrist. I personally don’t believe 20 years is long enough!

  2. melissa

    April 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    All I have to say is bless the young girls heart……I too was molested as a very very very young child but back then it was hush hush……..There is no sentence that would be enough for a person like this………Dear God,

  3. Earl K

    May 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Eddie: The maximum punishment under the law was 20 years. He got 20 years. What’s the problem?

    • Cathy

      May 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      Re-read the last sentence and apologise to Eddie.

  4. james marion

    May 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    This is a “Horrific Tragedy”. Not knowing where to begin, was my first thought; how does one comment on such an insidious crime? First, and foremost my heart and my prayers go out to the little girl. She will be haunted, and psychologically affected till the day she dies. Secondly my thoughts and wishes go out to the family. For they to will need counciling. As for the convicted, may GOD have mercy on your soul. You have violated and angel of GOD, a damnation abomination. May we learn something from this. Perhaps a great good can come from this. Another angel was taken, now we have a quick systen to find kidnapped children. GOD bless Amber. May the state or the federal govt., come up with a law also to beat the perplexing presence of Mans inhumanity to man! Just a suggestion.

  5. Another victim and more

    May 3, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    I have to say..he is kin to me and I promise you this child is not alone. I hope the judge mans up!

  6. ViolenceProhibited

    May 4, 2013 at 12:17 am

    Children suffering this atrocity should bring MUCH harsher punishment…what has happened to people????

  7. speachless

    May 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I don’t even know what to say about everybodys rush of judgment towards the accused. Except get all the facts before believing everything you hear….

  8. general public

    May 13, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I think everybody rushes to judge and condemn people to quickly without getting all the facts first..

  9. Anon1

    May 24, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Why would an 11 year old lie about something like that? This will follow her for the rest of her life. I believe that they should put him under the jail and never let him out so he will not have the chance to ruin some other little girls life. My heart goes out to this little girl and her family. May GOD comfort you sweetheart! May GOD have mercy on his soul!!

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