Child molester gets 30 years; Judge’s ruling includes stern opinion

Published 3:03 am Saturday, September 3, 2016

Circuit Judge Lex Short this week sentenced an Opp man to 30 years in prison for sex crimes against two family members.

In June a nine-woman, three-man jury found Jerry Wayne Scofield guilty of sexual abuse of a child under 12 and sexual abuse I.

They also acquitted him of rape I and sodomy I charges.

According to Star-News archives, the case was initiated in 2013 when the younger victim disclosed to a family friend that Scofield had molested her over a five-year period, ending when she was 10 years old.

During the course of the investigation, the second, and older, victim, revealed that Scofield had molested her at a young age as well.

Judge Short sentenced Scofield to 20 years in prison for sexual abuse of a child under 12 and to 10 years for his conviction for sexual abuse I. The sentences are to run consecutively.

He also ordered Scofield to pay court costs, fines totaling $2,000, a $500 assessment to the Alabama Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund for each case; and restitution of $70 to the Covington County Child Advocacy Center.

In the sentencing order, Judge Short stated that the role of a sentencing judge was three-fold: to adequately punish the offender for the criminal acts committed; to deter the offender from committing crimes in the future; and to deter other people from committing similar criminal acts, thereby protecting the public. Toward that end, he gave the following explanation for Scofield’s sentences:

“In this case, the Defendant was convicted of Sexual Abuse of a Child Under the age of 12 and Sexual Abuse in the first degree. These two crimes involved two separate victims. The latter offense was also committed against a child victim, however, although it is being tried now, it was committed over 20 years ago and at a time that the crime was not called Sexual Abuse of a Child under 12. It was not prosecuted at the time of its commission and actually its prosecution now is a result of the prosecution of the later crimes committed by the Defendant. There is no applicable Statute of Limitations for these crimes.

“It has been, it is now and it will continue to be in the future, this Court’s opinion that crimes of Abuse, whether sexual or otherwise, which are committed against children, the elderly or the mentally infirmed are among the most heinous of all crimes that can be committed. This opinion is especially strong in Sexual Abuse cases involving child victims because these crimes not only cause damage and suffering at the time of their commission, but they also cause long lasting, often permanent, emotional damage. These crimes are even more heinous and damaging because the victims are among the most vulnerable of all people. In most cases, that vulnerability is exacerbated by the fact that the perpetrator of the crime is related to the victim and quite often the perpetrator is the person that should be a protector, provider and defender of the child victim. The long lasting detrimental effects on a child by the commission of such depraved acts by the very person that the child must look to for support, love and protection cannot be overstated and warrants the imposition of a sentence that matches the severity of the crime. These victims commonly have severe lifelong emotional problems that prevent them from leading what most of us consider, a ‘normal’ life. Their ability to trust others, to love and be loved and to develop healthy normal relationships with other people is often destroyed and in many cases can only be restored, if it can be at all, by years of treatment and counseling.”