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Man gets 7 years for exploitation

POSTED: April 27, 2008 5:01 a.m.
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Jerry D. Peck

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A 49-year-old man who sexually exploited his teenage wife must serve seven years in prison and can’t contact her when he gets out, a Hall County judge ruled Tuesday.

Jerry Dwayne Peck must serve 13 years of probation after his release under sex offender conditions, meaning he can have no contact with the victim, Judge David Burroughs ordered Tuesday.

Peck was convicted by a jury on March 20 of sexual exploitation of a child and distribution of sexually explicit materials for a series of photographs featuring himself and the victim. Prosecutor Wanda Vance said the girl was 16 when the pictures were taken. Peck was 47. The couple was not married at the time.

The legal age of consent in Georgia is 16, but it is illegal to photograph a person under the age of 18 in a sexually explicit manner.

Peck’s attorney argued at trial that Peck was not the person shown in the pictures, and showed the jury photographs of the defendant unclothed below the waist in an attempt to prove it.

Peck was sentenced as a repeat offender for prior felony drug convictions and will serve all of his seven-year sentence without parole, Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh said.

Darragh said the law allowed for Peck to be prohibited from contacting the woman by phone, mail, or other means.

"It doesn’t matter whether he’s married to her or not," Darragh said. "She’s a victim of sexual exploitation."

The woman, now 18, testified reluctantly during the trial and claimed she didn’t know who was in the pictures with her.

Burroughs didn’t believe her testimony and sentenced her to 10 days in jail for contempt of court.

The pictures came to the attention of authorities after Peck and the teen had a roll of film developed at a Gainesville Eckerds pharmacy. A clerk alerted police after seeing the pictures.

A juror said after the guilty verdict that the panel had deep concerns for the woman’s well-being. They heard testimony that she struggled with drug use, problems in school and a difficult home life.



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