FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jackson, MS—A Gulfport resident enters a plea deal just as his trial gets underway in the First Judicial District of Harrison County, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.
Trial began December 7 for defendant Terrence Stapleton, Jr. age 21, of 11137 Pinehurst Place West in Gulfport on charges of sexual battery of a vulnerable person by person in position of trust or authority( 43-47-18(1)(b)). This charge arose out of Stapleton’s employment as a Mental Health Active Treatment Technician at the Specialized Treatment Facility, a licensed psychiatric residential treatment facility in Gulfport. Stapleton was accused of the sexual battery of a minor resident during a recreational outing away from the facility.
Before the start of the second day of trial, December 8, the defendant entered a guilty plea to the lesser included offense of touching a vulnerable person by a person in position of trust or authority for lustful purposes (43-47-18(2)(b)).
Judge Lawrence P. Bourgeois sentenced Stapleton to serve a term of 10 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with eight years suspended, two to serve and was immediately taken into custody. Upon release, Stapleton will be required to register as a sex offender and serve three years under post release supervision. He will also be required to pay a $2,000 fine, plus $200 to the crime victim’s compensation fund and all court costs.
“We applaud the court for sending this defendant to jail to consider the disgusting nature of his crime,” said Attorney General Hood.
This matter was investigated and prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Attorney General’s Office.