PANAMA CITY — A 70-year-old man who was convicted on Oct. 22 of sexually battering and molesting a child was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison. Additionally he received two 25-year sentences followed by lifelong probation if he is ever released.
According to a press release from the office of State Attorney Larry Basford, jurors convicted Kenneth Ray Hunley of sexual battery on a child under the age of 12 and two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation at his one-day trial. Hunley also was designated a sexual predator.
The victim, who prosecutors said was between 6 and 8 years old at the time of the crimes, did not appear in court. She wrote a victim impact letter, which was read into the record by Judge Ana Maria Garcia, the release states.
At trial, jurors heard testimony that the offenses began with molestation and escalated to intercourse. The victim said she was too frightened to say anything because the defendant warned her not to, saying no one would believe her, the release states.
The victim ultimately disclosed the abuse in interviews with the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center. Hunley, in an interview with Bay County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Christian, told a story that did not hold up under questioning and made incriminating and contradictory statements, the release states.
Prosecutor Barbara Beasley told the court, “The victim in this case is already serving a life sentence because of what the defendant did to her. He stole her innocence, he stole her childhood and this is something she’s got to live with every day of her life,” Beasley said.
This article originally appeared on The News Herald: 70-year-old Kenneth Ray Hunley gets life in prison for child sex abuse