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Richland minister convicted of sexually assaulting autistic child

Samuel Lamar Taylor
Photo courtesy of the Rankin County Sheriff's Department

A Richland pastor and teacher has been convicted by a Rankin County jury for committing sex crimes against a child under his guardianship and another individual who was underage at the time the alleged abuse took place.

52-year-old Samuel Lamar, a music teacher at schools across Mississippi for over 25 years and minister at multiple churches in Rankin County, is accused of sexually assaulting multiple children.

On August 23, 2022, the Richland Police Department received a call from Richland Upper Elementary School concerning an 11-year-old autistic child disclosing sexual abuse to his Region 8 counselor.

The child identified Taylor, his legal guardian at the time, and gave specific details regarding different instances of abuse perpetrated by Taylor at his home in Richland.

Action taken by Region 8, Richland Upper Elementary School, and the Richland Police Department, resulted in the child being removed from Taylor’s custody.

A forensic interview was conducted with the child the day after authorities took him from Taylor. During his interview, the child recounted, in detail, the sexual abuse he endured from Taylor from 2020-2022.

Throughout the investigation, authorities located and interviewed at least one other victim who alleged that Taylor abused him from 1990-91 when Taylor worked as a counselor at the YMCA on Flowers Dr. in Jackson.

Taylor was convicted of one count of sexual battery and one count of gratification of lust.

“I want to commend the faculty and staff at Richland Upper Elementary School, the Community Support Specialist with Region 8, the Parker Children’s Center, and the Richland Police Department,” District Attorney Bramlett stated.

“Because of this brave child victim and each of these agencies, Sam Taylor’s 30-year-old secret was finally brought to light. While these acts are ones no person should ever endure, especially a child, we hope this conviction brings closure to the victim, his family, and any other victim Taylor’s actions affected.”

Taylor will be sentenced on November 13. He faces life in prison for the sexual battery and a maximum sentence of 15 years for the gratification of lust. Any sentence will be served day-for-day without the possibility of parole or early release.

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