GONZALES —A Gonzales man faces up to 99 years in prison after an Ascension Parish jury found him guilty late Wednesday night of molestation of a young girl.
Assistant District Attorney Joni Buquoi said Thursday that Joseph Scott McKinney, who turns 40 on Friday, molested the girl numerous times from age 6 to 13. Sheriff’s deputies arrested McKinney on Jan. 18, 2013, after the girl came forward and reported the years of sexual abuse.
Jurors handed down the verdict about 9:20 p.m. Wednesday after 90 minutes of deliberation at the parish Courthouse Annex in Gonzales.
At trial, jurors heard not only the girl’s allegations but also testimony about past physical and sexual abuse of the girl and accusations that he molested another girl. In general, courts cannot allow the past bad acts of criminal defendants to be presented at trial, to avoid inflaming jurors, but there are exceptions.
Judge Ralph Tureau, of the 23rd Judicial District, granted a motion in which prosecutors claimed McKinney’s physical abuse of the victim was tied to the molestation, making the girl fearful to report it and pointing to McKinney’s guilty intent, court filings show.
Prosecutors said they also presented evidence of McKinney’s March 2012 conviction of cruelty involving a juvenile related to the girl.
Jurors also heard from another alleged child victim of McKinney, though her allegations of molestation have not led to a conviction, prosecutors said.
McKinney faces a minimum sentence of 25 years and as much as 99 years in prison. No fewer than 25 years must be served without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence, prosecutors said.
Tureau ordered a presentence investigation and set McKinney’s sentencing for Nov. 10.
Tureau increased McKinney’s postconviction bail from $100,000 to $200,000, court minutes show.
McKinney was remanded to the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, and he remained in Ascension Parish Prison near Donaldsonville late Thursday afternoon.
Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter,@NewsieDave.