Man guilty of abusing boy, 14

Published 12:48 am Wednesday, May 20, 2009

After deliberating for less than an hour Tuesday, a jury found an Andalusia man guilty of sex crimes against a 14-year-old boy.

Robert Paul Wooten, 45, was convicted of enticing a child to enter a house for immoral purposes and second-degree sexual abuse after a two-day trial.

His charges stemmed from a complaint filed by the victim’s parents on Aug. 15, 2007, after their son reported the incident to them that same day. Wooten was indicted in December 2007 on charges of first-degree sexual abuse and enticing a child.

Assistant District Attorney Grace Jeter, who prosecuted the case for the state, said that the victim’s prompt reporting of the crime was essential to the conviction.

“It’s always difficult for any one of any age to report a crime such as this that is so personal in nature,” Jeter said. “As I’ve stated before, it is so important that parents and care-givers continue to teach their children the importance of good touches and bad touches at an early age and the importance of telling when it happens.”

Before the new allegations were levied against him, reports indicate Wooten was previously convicted of a sex crime prior to the new criminal sexual notification act. Now, with his conviction, he will be required to register as a convicted sex offender upon his release from prison.

District Attorney Greg Gambril said the case was a good example of “the right result coming from a bad situation.”

“It was hard for the victim to report this crime, to share it with police and DHR and, ultimately, a jury, but, at the same time, the victim has now helped us ensure that this perpetrator will be off the streets for a long time and that, when he gets out, the public will know about him,” he said.

Sentencing is set for June 17 by Judge Charles A. “Lex” Short, during which Wooten could receive sentences of up to 11 years imprisonment for his crimes.