Woman pleads guilty to sex crimes

Published 12:22 am Saturday, March 24, 2012

In the space of less than 20 minutes, Judge Trippy McGuire sent two people to prison Friday for six crimes against minors, and gave each a lecture on the way out the door.

Jennifer Denise Taylor, 31, pled guilty to transmitting obscene material to a child and to sodomy II.

Prosecutor Emmett Massey cited incidents between Novem-ber 2011 and February 2012 in which Taylor, a resident of the Carolina community, sent a sexually explicit picture of herself to a child older than 12 but younger than 16, and to an incident in which she performed oral sex on a 14-year-old victim.

She also had been charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor, and additional misdemeanor charges of sex abuse, but those charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Per her plea agreement, McGuire sentenced her to 15 years on each count, to be served concurrently. The time also is to be served concurrently with a previous eight-year sentence for theft of property. Originally, Taylor was on probation for that offense, but Judge Lex Short revoked the probation after she was arrested on the sex abuse charges.

In an unrelated case, Toby Eli Gualtney of Florala pled guilty to second degree rape and attempted sodomy I. Prosecutor Emmett Massey said the incident occurred in August of 2011, and that Gualtney’s victim was a 14-year-old female. He is 38.

Per Gualtney’s plea agreement, McGuire sentenced him to 20 years on each count, to be served concurrently.

McGuire, who handled Gualtney’s case first, told him, “This is a very unfortunate circumstance. You have messed up a child’s life, here.”

Later, he quizzed Taylor about her family. She said she is the mother of two, and is not currently married.

“I can’t imagine the torment your two children are going through because of this,” McGuire said. “This is the second sexual offense I’ve heard in 20 minutes or so. There is a school of thought out there that this is acceptable.

“It is not accepted. That school of thought is un-American,” he said. “It is sick and it’s depraved. As long as that thinking is around, the nation will be sick and depraved.

“All it’s doing is harming children,” he said. “The victims in these cases will be scarred for the rest of their lives. Equally as said is that your children will be scarred as well,” he said.

District Attorney Walt Merrell said he is glad that both of these cases are over, the communities that were affected by them, now sleep a little bit easier.

“We will continue to pursue and prosecute child sex offenders vigorously,” he said.

Both Taylor and Gualtney were represented by Chris Sledge.