71-year-old Cherokee County man sentenced for molesting child he called his ‘best friend’

·2 min read

A Cherokee County man is heading to prison for the next 15 years after being convicted of molesting a young girl.

Prosecutors say 71-year-old Walter Gary DeVault, who used to live in Woodstock, was convicted of child molestation back in February. Earlier this week, DeVault was sentenced to 40 years, but will only serve the first 15 in a state prison. The remainder will be served on probation.

According to the Cherokee County District Attorney’s office, DeVault’s charges stemmed from allegations that he molested a girl when she was nine and 10 years old in 2016 and 2017.

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DeVault was a family friend of the girl’s that she trusted. He would often spend time alone with her on outings.

During the trial, DeVault testified that he considered the girl his “best friend” and that he would often tell her about his unconditional love for her.

When the girl’s parents became concerned about his relationship with her, they cut DeVault off from her, prosecutors say. They added that he continued trying to contact the girl and delivered letters to her that included disparaging comments about her parents.

Two years later, the girl reported the abuse to a family member and said she was afraid he would come back for her.

Investigators later learned that DeVault had been in contact with other young girls around the same age. Two other witnesses from outside of Cherokee County testified against him during the trial.

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“Walt DeVault presents as charming and charismatic and was easily able to gain the trust of others. The families in this case trusted him with their most precious gifts, their daughters. He used his position of trust to do sexually inappropriate things to a little girl in Cherokee County. When he lost his access to her, he sought out other little girls and began the process all over again,” said Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Katie Gropper.

Once he is released from prison, DeVault can have no contact with the victims or their families, will be banished from Cherokee County and must register as a sex offender.

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