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Elderly man sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting 10-year-old girl

James Cooper
James Cooper (Photo courtesy of the Harrison County Sheriff's Office)

An elderly Mississippi man will spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually assaulting a female family member when she was 10 years old.

District Attorney W. Crosby Parker announced that 70-year-old James Cooper was found guilty of the charge of sexual battery and touching a child for lustful purposes by a Harrison County jury late last week.

During Cooper’s trial, the jury heard testimony from the now-adult victim describing how Cooper, a family member, had sexually assaulted her in a house in Long Beach when she was 10 years old. The jury heard the victim was in school in Missouri when she disclosed the sexual assault to a therapist. The therapist testified for the jury describing the details that were presented to her.

“The victim showed amazing courage in reporting these crimes to her therapist, to authorities, and participating in the investigation and trial. We commend the other victims as well for testifying about those traumatic experiences they went through as young girls,” Parker said. “The thorough investigation by the Detective helped bring to justice a man who has been sexually assaulting young girls for decades.”

After the three-day trial, the jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning their guilty verdict. Circuit Court Judge Lisa P. Dodson presided over the trial and sentenced Cooper to life in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew D. Burrell, who prosecuted the case along with Assistant District Attorney George Peterman, noted that the family member was not the only person Cooper had sexually assaulted. Three different victims spoke up about what the defendant had done to them.

“During their investigation, a Detective with the Long Beach Police Department was able to locate three prior victims of the Defendant,” Burrell said. “All three victims, now adults, testified at trial about how the Defendant sexually assaulted them when they were between 8 and 16 years old.”

Cooper will serve his sentence in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

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