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Former student gets 15 years in prison for molestation

POSTED: May 18, 2008 5:01 a.m.
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Christopher Hughes, 20, who was charged with molesting a 4-year-old girl when he was a student at North Hall High School was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday.

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A Dahlonega man who was charged with molesting a 4-year-old girl when he was a student at North Hall High School was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday.

Christopher Hughes, 20, was convicted of aggravated child molestation by a Hall County Superior Court jury following a three-day trial, District Attorney Lee Darragh said.

Hughes was 17 at the time of the offense, in 2005. He was arrested in April 2006 and had been free on $30,000 bond awaiting trial. The victim was known to Hughes, and the molestation occurred in a Hall County home.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Bagwell, who called the victim, now 6, to testify on the witness stand against Hughes during the trial.

Jurors also watched a video of the victim being interviewed at Edmondson-Telford Center for Children, a center that provides services for child victims of sex abuse.

Hughes did not testify in his own defense.

Defense attorney Billy Healan called witnesses who testified they would have doubts about the young girl’s honesty.

The jury spent about an hour deliberating the case Wednesday afternoon before returning a guilty verdict on the single felony charge.

Judge Bonnie Chessher Oliver gave Hughes a sentence of 25 years, with the first 15 to serve in prison and the remainder on probation. He must register as a sex offender upon his release.



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