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If you are not familiar with the Charlie Hamrick story, please read Black Collar Crime: Former Youth Pastor Charlie Hamrick Charged With Forty Counts of Child Sex Abuse.
Charlie Hamrick, a former youth pastor at Pine Forest United Methodist Church and high school football coach in Pensacola,Florida, was found guilty Wednesday of sexually abusing a boy for years. The judge sentenced Hamrick to six life sentences.
Emma Kennedy, a reporter for the Pensacola News Journal, writes:
A former Tate High School assistant football coach and church leader was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences Wednesday after a jury found him guilty of sexually abusing a young boy for years nearly two decades ago.
An Escambia County jury deliberated for about an hour before finding Charlie Mabern Hamrick, 55, guilty of six counts of capital sexual battery on a victim under the age of 12.
Hamrick was arrested in March and charged with a series of offenses, including sexual assault, molestation and fraud. The charges were based on a range of accusations made by several victims over two decades. Some of those cases are ongoing in court.
The trial that concluded Wednesday was based on allegations made by a now 28-year-old victim who told the jury Hamrick sexually abused him from the ages of 8 to 11.
The man took the stand Tuesday, telling the jury that Hamrick last abused him in 2000, when the boy’s mother saw her then-11-year-old son sitting on Hamrick’s lap at Pensacola Beach.
The two families were so close that the victim referred to Hamrick as his uncle, the jury heard. The victim’s mother also testified Tuesday, crying as she said she never would have thought someone so close to the family could have committed such an act.
She said she and her husband confronted Hamrick about the incident at the beach and ultimately decided not to go to police because they thought it was a one-time act.
The parents did not find out until earlier this year that the abuse went on for years, the mother said on the stand.
Two other alleged victims took the stand Wednesday, although their cases were not prosecuted because the statute of limitations had passed for the crimes they accused Hamrick of perpetrating.
Hamrick’s defense attorney, Kim Skievaski, argued the men conspired together in a plot against his client.
Skievaski said that in his first interview with police, the victim in the current case estimated the abuse happened when he was 13 or 14, but the attorney alleged he changed his story when he learned abuse at that age doesn’t fit under the capital felony guidelines.
Skievaski also argued the victim lied about the age the abuse took place because the child would not have been physically developed enough to be involved in those acts between the ages of 8 and 11.
He further argued that even as a child, the victim would have had some sense that the sexual acts were wrong.
“(The victim) fit his story so that a viable criminal charge could be brought,” Skievaski told the jury in his closing argument.