DOBSON — A Pinnacle man accused of sexual offenses and assaulting an elderly woman was convicted Thursday in Superior Court.
Jim Terry Hairston, 43, had been arrested about a year ago and charged with assault inflicting serious bodily injury, second degree rape, second degree sexual offense, felony larceny and injury to personal property.
He pleaded guilty Thursday to assault inflicting serious bodily injury, crime against nature and felony larceny, and through a plea agreement, the remaining charges were dismissed.
When providing the court with the state’s summary of the evidence against Hairston, Assistant District Attorney Mike Beal explained that the defendant and victim had been in a “friendship type relationship.”
The 72-year-old victim had been trying to help out the defendant, who had welcome access to her home, and a “semi-romantic relationship developed,” the prosecutor stated.
The July 2015 assault led to the victim’s hospitalization at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where she was treated for internal head injuries from which she continues to suffer.
The defendant also stole $2,100 in cash located within the victim’s residence.
“This is just a very sad situation,” Beal said. “No good deed goes unpunished. I guess that is how I would characterize this situation.”
Beal told Presiding Judge Nathaniel Poovey the victim and family had requested that Hairston be given as much of an active sentence as possible, noting that the court’s discretion in sentencing is limited by statute.
“They ask that he not walk out of the courtroom today a free man if possible,” he said.
Defense attorney Chadwick Casstevens spoke on behalf of his client, informing the judge that Hairston had been declared mentally disabled and has lived an otherwise crime-free life during the 10 years he’s lived in North Carolina.
“He does accept responsibility for any harm caused to the victim in this case,” Casstevens said.
The judge inquired about a prior statutory sexual assault conviction on the defendant’s record and was told by both the defense and the state that Hairston was not a registered sex offender in the U.S. or Pennsylvania (where he had been convicted).
Hairston was sentenced to 19 to 32 months imprisonment in the Department of Adult Corrections with credit for 375 days served.
He was given a consecutive sentence of six to 17 months, suspended pending the successful completion of 30 months of supervised probation.
As conditions of both judgments, Hairston was ordered to have no contact with the victim or family and to pay $2,100 in restitution.
The following statistics were provided by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network):
• Fifty-five percent of sexual assaults occurred at or near the victim’s home.
• Three out of four rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.
• Two out of every three sexual assaults go unreported to police.
• One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
• Fifty-seven percent of perpetrators are white, 27 percent black.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline can be reached at 800-656-HOPE or online.rainn.org.
The Surry County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault crisis line is 336-356-2014.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.