Parker molester

Roy Parker, right, stands in court next to attorney Michael Mitchell. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

 

ADA: Plea deal amounts to 'death sentence’

A Laurel man admitted to molesting a little girl who stayed at the daycare his wife operated, and he will pay a high price, the prosecutor said.

Roy Sidney Parker, 68, was ordered to serve 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to molestation. All of the time will have to be served day for day in the full-time custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with no chance for early release.

“He will be almost 80 when he gets out … it’s essentially a death sentence,” Assistant District Attorney Kristen Martin said.

Parker was arrested in December 2017, and at the time of his arrest, he told a reporter that he did not do what he was being accused of. But on Tuesday, standing before Judge Dal Williamson in Jones County Circuit Court, he admitted what he did.

Parker rubbed his “private parts” on the body of a girl while she was between ages 5 and 6, according to a child specialist who interviewed the young victim.

“I know what I did was wrong,” Parker said before sentencing. “I truly am sorry it happened.”

The mother of the young girl was in the courtroom, and she signed an affidavit saying that she agreed with the sentence.

“She didn’t want to put her 8-year-old daughter through testifying in front of a jury,” Martin said. “She preferred the plea.”

The maximum sentence for molestation is 15 years in prison. A civil suit is also pending in the case. The family of the victim is being represented by Hattiesburg attorney Tracy Klein.

“This is a despicable thing you did,” Williamson said. “This only comes from a dark place of evil. I hope and pray you seek forgiveness and I pray that this child has no lasting scars from this, and you should, too.”

Upon accepting the plea, Williamson said that he didn’t want to cause “further pain” to the child and her family by putting them through a trial, if that’s their preference.

The Parkers operated a daycare out of their home on Old Bay Springs Road in Laurel — right across from Mason Elementary — for more than a decade. The initial complaint was reported to an investigator with the Jones County Sheriff’s Department, so that agency handled the case. At the time Parker was arrested, they expected more victims from the daycare to come forward, but none did, Martin said.

Parker was out on $50,000 bond when teachers at Mason Elementary began complaining about him “acting creepy” while students were outside. “He just sits and stares at the kids,” a teacher said on the condition of anonymity.

Parker was arrested again in December 2018 after a family member accused him of sexual battery and he was held in the Jones County Adult Detention Center without bond until his court date. He was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation earlier this year and it was determined that he was competent to face the charges.

Parker was represented by public defender Michael Mitchell.

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