Aricer molester

John Aricer pleaded guilty to molestation in Jones County Circuit Court on Tuesday. He was represented by public defender John Piazza. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

An elderly molester who avoided prison when he was accused many years ago was ordered to spend the next decade in prison.

Johnny Aricer, 72, was ordered to serve the next 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in Jones County Circuit Court to two counts of molestation. He admitted to touching a young family member inappropriately at least twice when she was between ages 7 and 11, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Martin said.

The victim, who is now 13, told a school counselor in February about what she had been through, and that launched the investigation of Capt. Tonya Madison of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department.

In a forensic interview, the victim told a child specialist what Aricer would do to her Martin said. 

He confessed to the crimes, Madison told Martin, and when Judge Dal Williamson asked if he was guilty of the acts the ADA described, he said, “Yes.”

Aricer was reportedly accused of similar behavior in the 1990s, but the victims didn’t want to pursue the charges, sources with knowledge of the past case said. Another source with knowledge of Aricer said that he served as pastor in the past.

Aricer told the judge that he has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Southern Mississippi.

“I hope you seek forgiveness, and I hope there are no lasting, severe, long-term effects on this young girl that you started doing this when she was just a child,” Williamson said. “What you did is a terrible, terrible thing. May God have mercy on your soul.”

Aricer was ordered to serve 10 years in the full-time custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and five years under MDOC supervision. He will also have to participate in the court’s community service program after he’s released and pay $1,917.50 in court costs and fines. He will have to register as a sex offender wherever he lives, too, as a condition of his release. He was represented by public defender John Piazza.

Because his crime is a sex offense, Aricer will have to serve all of his time, day for day, with no chance of early release, Martin said.

“In theory,” Williamson said of that, calling out MDOC’s Parole Board for the early release of convicts. The judge referred to a recent habitual offender who was supposed to serve all of his time and was sentenced in January to 30 months in prison. “But the Parole Board, in it’s infinite wisdom, is considering him for parole in December, after serving 11 months.”

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