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Repeat molester convicted
Got probation for first conviction
1103claude hudson
Claude Hudson

A Hall County man who got probation in a 1993 child molestation conviction was sentenced to 25 years in prison Monday after a jury found him guilty of molesting another child.

Claude Wayne Hudson, 47, protested his innocence to Senior Judge John Girardeau.

“I’m asking for your mercy,” Hudson said. “I’m not guilty of this — I didn’t do it.”

A Hall County jury felt otherwise after the five-day trial, finding Hudson guilty of aggravated sexual battery and child molestation in the abuse of a 6-year-old female relative.

Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Burton said the molestations occurred in Hudson’s mother’s Hall County home, where he lived. The girl was brought to the home to be watched after by Hudson’s mother, Burton said.

The girl first reported the molestations at age 9 after seeing a “good touch-bad touch” program at her school, Burton said.

Now 10, the victim testified against Hudson at trial. Her mother, who did not believe the allegations, testified for the defense, Burton said.

The victim now lives with her father.

Hudson did not take the witness stand.

In June 1993, Hudson was sentenced to five years probation in a negotiated plea agreement after entering a so-called “Alford plea” to molesting a 7-year-old female relative.

In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges there could be enough evidence for a jury to find him guilty.

Lee Darragh, who was not district attorney at the time the plea was negotiated and not involved with the case, said without knowing specifics, he could not say why a prosecutor may have made the plea deal.

Burton said she was unable to locate files that addressed the circumstances of Hudson’s 1993 plea.

Evidence of Hudson’s prior child molestation conviction was presented to the jury.

Girardeau imposed the mandatory minimum sentence set by the state legislature.

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