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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Guilty on 3 counts: Local man convicted of child sexual abuse gets life without parole

  • A Pottawatomie County jury on Wednesday found a local man guilty on three counts of child sexual abuse and he was sentenced to serve life in prison without parole.
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  • A Pottawatomie County jury on Wednesday found a local man guilty on three counts of child sexual abuse and he was sentenced to serve life in prison without parole.
    Robert Pernell Hurd, 48, stood trial this week before District Judge John Canavan, where an 11-year-old girl testified for the prosecution and told the jury about incidents that prompted the three felony counts in this case.
    “She came forward and trusted us with her story,” said Assistant District Attorney Bob Booth, who said the courageous girl took the witness stand and shared that story with the jury.
    “The jury listened to her and they believed her,” Booth said. “She was incredibly brave.”
    Booth, who prosecuted the case with Assistant District Attorney Shelley Levisay, was pleased with the verdict and sentence.
    Booth, who called this an “ugly” case, said it involved Hurd abusing his girlfriend’s child. What made the case worse was that the mother of the child also participated in the abuse, Booth said. She is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for enabling child sexual abuse.
    This case was initially investigated by Tecumseh police and a district attorney’s investigator. Although the key witness is now 11, Booth said the incidents occurred when the girl was between 8 and 9 years old. Charges in this case were filed in 2011.
    Because of the publicity about Hurd’s arrest in this case, a woman who is now in her 20s came forward with her own story and also testified the defendant was capable of such abuse, Booth said. That woman told the jury she was abused by Hurd when she was a child, Booth said.
    The jury deliberated nearly five hours before delivering its verdict and recommending the life without parole punishment for each count. Hurd, who normally would have been sentenced at a later date, waived his right to a pre-sentence investigation and was immediately sentenced to the recommended sentences, which are set to run consecutively.
    He will remain jailed in the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center until he his transferred to the Department of Corrections.
     
     
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