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A boyfriend and girlfriend charged with sexually abusing children were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on Wednesday.
Allen Barry Buford and Alayna Marie Hesler had separate hearings in front of Circuit Judge Lisa Herndon. The hearing for Buford, 31, of Orange Springs, was to determine if other bad acts, crimes or wrongdoing by him would be admitted in his future trial.
Hesler's hearing was to see if any of the victims' statements made out of court would be included in her upcoming trial. Although the hearing had been set for Hesler, she was also scheduled for a change of plea for the same day.
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Hesler, 33, charged with lewd lascivious molestation on a child younger than 12, continued with her change of plea and was sentenced to 25 years in prison and 20 years of probation, to be served concurrently.
She also must register as a sexual offender and cannot have any contact with the victims.
Marion County Jail records show Hesler was booked into the facility on April 2, 2019 and released in May 2019 after posting a $25,000 bond. She was re-arrested in October 2021 for violating bond conditions and has been at the jail ever since.
Another condition of her sentence is that she cannot have any contact with Buford. In court documents, prosecutors said she has had multiple contact with Buford while he was in jail.
The Ocala woman was represented by Garry Wood, a private attorney from Palatka.
Buford, 31, also decided to skip a trial and change his plea. He received a 40-year prison sentence and lifetime probation. He must register as a sexual predator. Assistant Public Defender Michael Novak represented Buford.
According to Marion County Sheriff's Office officials, Buford forced a juvenile girl to touch him and he touched her. Authorities were told that, in another instance, Buford and Hesler were naked and the couple touched a girl.
Deputies said there were two victims, both younger than 13. The Sheriff's Office was notified in March 2019.
Contact Austin L. Miller at 867-4118, firstname.lastname@example.org or @almillerosb
This article originally appeared on Ocala Star-Banner: In Ocala, long prison terms for couple charged in child sex case