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Saucier man sentenced to 60 years for grooming minor for sexual abuse purposes

Kendal Wayne Bodie
Kendal Wayne Bodie (photo courtesy of the Harrison County Sheriff's Office)

A Mississippi Gulf Coast man has been sentenced to six decades in prison for grooming a child for sexual abuse purposes.

Kendal Wayne Bodie, 37, of Saucier was convicted of two counts of sexual battery and one count of touching a child for lustful purposes by a Harrison County jury on Friday. He was sentenced to the maximum penalty.

A criminal investigation into Bodie began when an individual deemed a trusted adult informed law enforcement of the male victim’s claims that Bodie had sexually abused him when he was between the ages of 13 and 14 years old. During the trial, the jury heard testimony regarding Bodie’s maltreatment of the victim’s family that spanned at least eight years, which included not only the sexual abuse of the victim, but also physical violence of the family.

Evidence presented at court also showed that the suspect had directed sexual gestures at two other minors, which established his motive and common scheme to prey on adolescent children with similar grooming techniques, according to law enforcement.

“The lengths that this man would go to control and manipulate the victim and the victim’s family members was devastating,” Assistant District Attorney Haley Broom said. “Bodie had groomed the victim and the victim’s family into silence by violence, and his actions remained concealed until the victim mustered the courage to come forward and break that silence by telling a trusted adult.”

As a convicted sex offender, Bodie will be required to serve the entirety of his 60-year sentence in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections without the possibility of parole or early release.

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