Diamondhead man found guilty of multiple sex charges involving children
HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A Diamondhead man will spend what could be the rest of his life in prison after he was found guilty of multiple sex charges.
Harry Lynn Trest, 77, was found guilty of four counts of sexual battery and four counts of touching a child for lustful purposes after a five-day trial in Hancock County.
The investigation began on Jan. 22, 2019, when the Waveland Police Department was contacted by someone who said their minor family members were victims of sexual abuse.
The initial disclosure was made to the children’s mother once the victims returned to South Carolina after a visit with the family in Waveland during the Christmas holidays.
The Waveland Police Department scheduled a forensic interview of the children, which led to additional disclosures that Trest had molested the children over a number of years.
After hearing testimony from the victims and their forensic interview, the jury heard testimony that the mother had taken the children for medical treatment and no injuries were observed by doctors in South Carolina.
However, a pediatrician with the University of Mississippi Medical Center testified that the lack of physical injury “does not mean a child was not abused, and that injuries are rare in these cases, mostly due to delayed reporting.” Jurors also heard from the children’s counselor, who testified that the victims were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and that they had disclosed several different types of behaviors, fears and physiological symptoms that were “consistent with sexual abuse.”
Ultimately, Trest was found guilty after a two-hour deliberation from the jury.
“The conviction in this case resulted from months of outstanding investigative work on the part of the Waveland Police Department and the courage of the victims to come forward,” said District Attorney Crosby Parker. “This sentence e provides an appropriate penalty for this defendant based on the horrific crimes in this case and provides accountability and justice. Hopefully, this conviction and sentence will also assist the victims in their healing.”
Trest was sentenced to 45 years in prison without the possibility of parole or early release by Judge Christopher Schmidt.
“I cannot begin to imagine the depravity that lies within a man’s heart in order to get some type of sexual gratification by touching a young defenseless child,” Schmidt said at sentencing. “There are people who appear before me every day and every week who stand before the court guilty of a felony, and there are many of those people for whom I have sympathy for the choices they have made. You do not fall within that category.”
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