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CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- A Pickens County man was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to rape and child molestation charges in Cherokee County Friday.

District Attorney Shannon Wallace announced that on Dec. 9, 2021, Jasper resident, Roy William Ray, 38, entered a guilty plea to rape, four counts of child molestation, criminal attempt to commit aggravated child molestation, and computer pornography.

Ray is believed to have sexually abused two children in separate incidents in 2020 and 2012.

In Oct. 2020, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office arrested Ray for rape and other charges after a child told her grandmother about the incident.

During the course of the investigation, another relative told authorities that Ray raped and molested her in 2012. 

Both victims were under the age of 16 at the time of the crimes.

The victims participated in separate forensic interviews at the Anna Crawford Children’s Center, where they provided their testimony of what Ray had done to them.

“Sexual predators take advantage of vulnerable children, then threaten them into silence. This defendant told the first victim that she would lose her family and home if she ever told anyone about the abuse. She was afraid to tell authorities what this defendant had done to her and, but for the courage of another child coming forward, he would never have been held accountable for his actions,” said Assistant District Attorney Leyna Pope, who prosecuted this case on behalf of the State.

A Cherokee County judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison, without the possibility of parole, followed by life on probation.

Upon his release from prison, Ray is prohibited from contacting the victims or the victims’ family members and must adhere to sex offender special conditions.

This defendant stole the innocence of two innocent children, likely causing long-term psychological harm. We are so proud of these young victims for standing up for themselves and helping ensure that this predator is now in a place where he cannot hurt young children.

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