A Newport man has been sentenced on five counts of molestation of a child under the age of 14. Donald James, 52, was convicted by an Independence County judge to 150 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
A judge ordered that the separate penalties for each of the five charges, all Class Y felonies, should run sequentially, implying that James will serve 150 years on all charges.
The three-day hearing was held in Independence County Circuit Court in Batesville and started on Nov. 6 and ended late afternoon on Nov. 8. The jury considered for about two hours before giving a verdict. The defendant declined to prove in his own defense.
A press release says that the multiple assaults occurred in 2014 and 2015 in Donald’s home in Oil Trough, in Independence County.
The girl, now 15, was nine years old at the time the assaults started. She is reportedly the niece of Donald James. The girl came forward on the abuse in 2018 when she disclosed the abuses to a school educator.
According to witness assertion, James was a stay-at-home-dad, who usually cared for other children in his house, both household members and others.
Eyewitnesses for the prosecution included the child victim, who gave graphic descriptions of the abuse, and another minor female teenager, who revealed that James had assaulted her as well.
Family members, both younger and older than the victim, who claimed for the accuser, said “Uncle DJ” made them feel awkward and described incidents of improper touching and exposure of his genitalia.
Other family members claimed in defense of James, saying that nothing inappropriate ever occurred. All said that both of the James’ homes in Independence County and later in Jackson County, were areas where cook-outs and swim functions were popular with grown-ups and children. Donald James is being caught with no bond.