Man, 65, gets 40 years

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Forty years in prison might be a death sentence for Earnest Rhodes, but a judge told him Wednesday that it's a sentence he deserves.

Mr. Rhodes, 65, was convicted in Richmond County Superior Court this week of sexual assault crimes, including child molestation.

"I can't think of a more despicable case," said Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet, who has been on the bench since 1991.

Mr. Rhodes was indicted in the spring when DNA testing confirmed that he was the father of a child born in 1998 to a 13-year-old girl.

The victim told a jury that the first time, "I was, like, 10 years old. He wouldn't get off me for nothing in the world. I was just crying. I couldn't fight him anymore. ... It was an indescribable pain."

It would happen over and over, usually after school, the young woman told the jury this week.

"I got to the point I didn't have no feelings. ... I wasn't even there anymore."

When she was 14, she tried to commit suicide, she testified. The sheriff's department was called and the Department of Family and Children Services got involved, but nothing happened.

"I felt like something lower than the bottom of your shoe. I was nothing," the victim said.

In the spring, a chance meeting with District Attorney Danny Craig changed that. A new investigation began with DNA testing.

Assistant District Attorney Philip Catalano, who prosecuted the case, asked the judge for the maximum sentence for Mr. Rhodes. Mr. Catalano called Mr. Rhodes a predator.

Mr. Rhodes was also arrested in 1994. A 16-year-old girl told police that he forced her to commit sodomy after locking her inside an office at Sego Middle School, where he was a custodian. The grand jury chose not to indict him on criminal charges.

Defense attorney Barry Middleton asked the judge not to consider any other allegations against Mr. Rhodes.

Mr. Rhodes worked for the school system for 30 years. He served in the Vietnam War. He had no prior convictions, and he is in poor health, Mr. Middleton said.

Judge Overstreet said part of his job is to protect society.

"I don't think he needs to be out on the streets," he said.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (38) Add comment
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plzgetalife
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plzgetalife 01/17/08 - 11:11 am
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I glad to see this monster is

I glad to see this monster is behind bars,for the rest of his life!!!!

jshep67
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jshep67 01/17/08 - 11:22 am
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This is WAY too late. For us

This is WAY too late. For us to think these two youg ladies were the ONLY people this filthy animal violated would be an insult to humanity.

CKB
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CKB 01/17/08 - 11:26 am
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Why was this not deserve

Why was this not deserve capital punishment? Justice is done? Yeah at the taxpayer's expense. Hopefully he will get what he deserves someday. So sorry for his victims.

dreamcatcher
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dreamcatcher 01/17/08 - 11:51 am
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Besides the two that came

Besides the two that came forward are there any more victims out there????

dreamcatcher
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dreamcatcher 01/17/08 - 12:05 pm
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Someone like that , that

Someone like that , that forces sodomy, prefers males or female. Even though it is hard to scream out for help!!!!, but it is even harder for a male victim in this society to ask for help without being labled. New Year and new changes need to come for children, so they can stop being a victim.

GETACLUE
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GETACLUE 01/17/08 - 12:20 pm
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Good! Hang him upside down

Good! Hang him upside down and butter his anatomy for prison!!!

sanders20
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sanders20 01/17/08 - 12:36 pm
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can't wait for BUBBA in cell

can't wait for BUBBA in cell block 6 to find out!!

GA Girl
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GA Girl 01/17/08 - 12:37 pm
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One has to ask the question..

One has to ask the question.. Where was this little girl's parents? She was raped repeatedly over the course of several YEARS and nobody noticed anything wrong with her? It wasn't discovered until she attempted suicide? Nobody questioned where the BABY came from? This child is not only this old man's victim but she is also a victim of her parents. They should be charged with neglect.

thetroll
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thetroll 01/17/08 - 12:44 pm
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an animal like this needs to

an animal like this needs to be executed immediately instead of living out his miserable life at taxpayers expense, maybe prison justice will take care of him

funksgirl3
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funksgirl3 01/17/08 - 01:34 pm
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Maybe we will soon see his

Maybe we will soon see his and bubba's china registration at Macy's! LOL

funksgirl3
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funksgirl3 01/17/08 - 01:35 pm
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They will have to put him in

They will have to put him in segregation in the prison. Too many men in there will have him for "dinner".

butterbrown
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butterbrown 01/17/08 - 01:46 pm
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She told her mother but she

She told her mother but she did not listen.

Redibear
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Redibear 01/17/08 - 01:56 pm
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I hope get gets raped at

I hope get gets raped at least three time a day until he dies. I agree with you thetroll but, this bastard need to suffer a long time.

walk_american
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walk_american 01/17/08 - 02:01 pm
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Here is another one who

Here is another one who should die. Why should tax payers have to foot the bill for his upkeep and the obvious medical bills he will incur.

jack
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jack 01/17/08 - 02:22 pm
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Time to get your legislators

Time to get your legislators to make it a capial offense with death as the penalty.

rufus
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rufus 01/17/08 - 02:34 pm
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He'll end up with AIDS and

He'll end up with AIDS and die in misery. Justice

sneaky pete
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sneaky pete 01/17/08 - 03:17 pm
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Don't worry. When he gets in

Don't worry. When he gets in prison, word will get out what he is. Age has no bearing on what will happen. But the worst thing that will happen to him is the fear of what is about to happen. He will go nuts waiting on it. Every time a door creaks, he will jump. Every time somebody sneaks up on him, he will jump. I would say I hate it for him, but I don't.

concern4youth
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concern4youth 01/17/08 - 03:56 pm
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I can feel this young girls

I can feel this young girls pain. I went thru the same thing as a child the only thing different, I did not have a child. From the time that I can remember at age 4 to 9 I was molested and I did tell my mom,. but nothing ever happend. I am 31 now and I still would like for something to be done to this man. He has violated other young girls. He was on the run from the town he lived in because this man was trying to get him for messing with his daughter. I wonder is there anything that I can do now at this age to get justice. I have suffered tremendeously and still do from that. This guy got what he deserved but it would even be better if he had received the death penalty. He needs to rot in HELL!!!!!!!

rufus
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rufus 01/17/08 - 04:10 pm
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Go to the DA. There are no

Go to the DA. There are no statute of limitations for child molestation.

redbone
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redbone 01/17/08 - 05:15 pm
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Where was her MOTHER?

Where was her MOTHER?

sis4world
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sis4world 01/17/08 - 06:30 pm
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This is not justice. This

This is not justice. This may be what the judge could legally do to try to protect future potential victims but it isn't justice. Now that he's old and in "poor health" (whatever that means) are we supposed to feed, clothe him and provide him with medical treatment and medicine. I work in a hospital and there are plenty of people out there way more deserving of the help that could be provided with that kind of money. What is going to be made to do to atone? Just because he can't make up for it doesn't mean that he shouldn't be made to pay in some way and sitting on his rear in a prison living a life without responsibilities is not paying!

butterflygina
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butterflygina 01/17/08 - 06:42 pm
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Is this the same case they

Is this the same case they were talking about some time ago on channel 12? If it is her mother was around, she didn't listen and later married the man. And the grandmother (rape victim's mother) is raising the child.

cemoryc
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cemoryc 01/17/08 - 09:56 pm
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Unfortunately there IS a

Unfortunately there IS a statute of limitations in Georgia. However, a big part of the problem is indicated by the victim's statement with regard to her informing DFACS and the sheriff's department, and nothing happened!!! All too often, as was the case with a victim in a family a number of years ago in Richmond County, nothing happens to the perpetrator, but plenty happens to the victim's psychological well-being as the result of mishandling of such cases by authorities. All too often, victims wind up as the "persecuted" while perpetrators wind up as "protected" by statutes and "cover-ups" for the sake of protecting the "image" of those with whom a perpetrator is associated. Thank you, Judge Overstreet, for taking a stand against a heinous crime that should result in dire consequences for perpetrators rather than victims. In this case, justice won!

tdp
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tdp 01/17/08 - 10:57 pm
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I cannot believe a mother

I cannot believe a mother would not listen to her daughter when she told her this. How could a mother chose a man over her innocent child? It sounds as if the mother is just as guilty as the man who raped this girl. Why has the mother not been prosecuted? Repeatedly raping a child should absolutely result in the death penalty. The child who was raped gets a death sentence. The child they were before the rape dies and a new, damaged child emerges. The rapist should absolutely get the death penalty too.

Just me 2
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Just me 2 01/18/08 - 12:03 am
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We need to ban together and

We need to ban together and get the laws changed!!!!

SUNSET
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SUNSET 01/18/08 - 04:32 am
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Its hard to believe that time

Its hard to believe that time after time a child molester go on for years with no one trying to find out the truth when the child reports it. Wake-up law enforcement and parents. Let's put a stop to Child Molesting!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!

full moon
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full moon 01/18/08 - 07:31 am
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I feel the young girls pain

I feel the young girls pain and feel the justice system is broke for they didn't want to charge the man for the charges earlier. It takes something like this to bring the anger out in people. The justice system lets this go on everyday and don't punish the ones that need it an let them out to take another young kid down If it were my kid I would be going after the guilty one the justice system that let this monster go the first time. It should never come to happening the second time for if its my child he's not going to be going to court I will and the charges will be different./

enana031
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enana031 01/18/08 - 10:16 am
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It's truly sad when the

It's truly sad when the parents don't do their job and protect their children. Not only should this sick disgusting perpertrator be punished, but they should as well. Justice should be swift and severe for these slime balls who commit crimes on helpless victims. He had better be glad it wasn't one of my children as the taxpayers would not be supporting him, the cemetary would! I hope "big bubba" on the inside gives him his just due each day for the rest of his disgusting life.

debbiedoright
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debbiedoright 01/18/08 - 12:10 pm
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It is truely sad that instead

It is truely sad that instead of focusing on what we can do to prevent things like this happening, Some IDIOTS try to blame the parents. I know there are times when some parents allow their children to do things and be into things they should not, but there are still some parents (like Me) that protected my daughter from everyone, axcept her father. I missed the signs, so I guess I should be punished too. I think not. When our laws are the way they are, it is all of our faults, We need to make the laws where jail is the last place you ever want to go. Make it so hard when you break the laws, you pay, yes sometimes with your life. These children are living the payment every day and many times they become societies problems, only because we don't stand up and have a voice for stricter and harder punishments. I do not mean to hurt anyone, but if we all bind together, and force the laws to change then it will a better place for us and most of all our children.

mommie2
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mommie2 01/18/08 - 01:56 pm
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Child molesters should be

Child molesters should be castrated and thrown in general population prison.

or just shoot them.

They deserve it.

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