An Augusta man convicted of aggravated child molestation was sentenced to life in prison Friday.
A Richmond County Superior Court convicted Frank K. Jones, 53, of one count of aggravated child molestation. He was acquitted of a second count.
Jones was offered a plea negotiation in which he would have entered what amounts to a no-contest plea to child molestation in exchange for a maximum possible 10-year prison sentence.
Jones continues to maintain his innocence, defense attorney Bobby Christine said Friday. Jones served more than 20 years in the military and was in combat in Iraq, he said. Until the jury convicted him June 4, Jones had a spotless record, Christine said.
“I’m not a criminal. I don’t belong in prison,” Jones said to Judge Sheryl B. Jolly who presided over his trial.
Contrary to what Jones and his family said Friday, Jones is not the victim, Assistant District Attorney Joshua Smith said. His refusal to take responsibility for his actions in 2010 required his victims, now 8 and 10 years old, to testify, Smith said. He asked Jolly to impose the maximum sentence.
The minimum sentence possible for aggravated child molestation is 25 years. Christine asked the judge to impose the minimum. Because of his service in Iraq, Jones has significant medical issues and might not survive even the minimum sentence, Christine said.