James C. Hester, Sr., pleaded guilty Thursday in Lexington County to criminal sexual conduct with a minor – third degree. Hester, 61, was charged with sexually abusing a child under the age of 11.
The child reported the abuse occurred over the course of a year, beginning in the summer of 2017, when she was 9 years old. The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case.
The victim was able to give detailed information regarding the assault during an interview with a local child advocacy center.
Hester had a previous conviction for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature from 2011 that was originally charged as criminal sexual conduct with a minor – first degree.
Judge Walton J. McLeod, IV sentenced Hester to 15 years in prison. The charge is classified as a violent offense. Hester is required to register as a sex offender and will be subject to electronic monitoring upon his release from the Department of Corrections.
The investigator in the case was Michael Hart who spoke at the hearing and stated “these types of cases are some of the most heinous crimes” that law enforcement handles.
The case was prosecuted by 11th Circuit Senior Assistant Solicitor Rhonda Patterson.
Hester is being transported to the S.C. Department of Corrections to begin immediate service of his prison sentence.