A magistrate on Thursday sentenced a 73-year-old man to one year in prison for the indecent assault of a toddler.
The three-year-old’s aunt caught Thomas Deal fondling the little girl on November 1, 2019.
Deal was arraigned on an indecent assault charge on January 6, 2020.
He denied the accusation and went to trial before Magistrate Samuel McKinney.
During the trial, the court heard that Deal had invited the family over to watch television because their power was off.
The child’s aunt stepped out briefly, leaving the three-year-old with Deal.
The toddler was on the floor when her aunt left.
She returned about 10 minutes later and caught Deal with the child on his lap. He had his hand in the child’s pull-ups, caressing her butt.
The shocked woman shouted at Deal and he removed his hand and placed the child on the floor.
In his evidence, Deal denied the accusation. He claimed that he put the child on his lap to stop her from following her aunt. Deal said the child’s face was on his stomach and he had his arms around her.
Deal recalled the aunt, telling him, “All these women around here, you fooling with a little girl.”
The aunt told the child’s mother about the assault. Before going to police, the mother went to his home to confront him but he refused to come out.
She threw rocks and bottles at the home in anger.
In his decision, McKinney said that Deal’s testimony partially corroborated the aunt’s claims.
McKinney said, “The buttocks are an intimate part of the body and are close to the sexual organs.”
Deal faced a maximum of three years’ imprisonment for the charge.
Deal’s sentence was backdated to January 6, since he remained in custody because no one signed his bail.