BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCIV) -- A 37-year-old St. Helena Island man will spend the rest of his
life in prison after being convicted for sexually abusing two boys over a two-year period, according to the solicitor.
Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Duffy Stone said the jury deliberated for almost six hours before convicting James Simmons, Jr.
of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
Stone said the abuse
was ongoing from 2009 to 2010 at a home on Seaside Road when the boys were seven to
The victims reported the abuse to family members in 2011, Stone said in a press release and Simmons was arrested and charged in 2012.
"One of our jobs as
prosecutors is to protect the most vulnerable in our society," said assistant
solicitor Mary Jordan Lempesis. "I am proud of the children in this case for
having the courage to tell their story and to prevent this dangerous man from
hurting anyone else. The jury carefully deliberated the facts of this case and
delivered a verdict that ensured these children's bravery would be rewarded
Stone said based on the charges, Simmons
faced a minimum of 25 years in prison, but at the end of the three-day
trial, the judge handed down the maximum sentence, life in prison.
Stone said Simmons had prior convictions
for criminal domestic violence and malicious injury to personal property.