James Pepper, 47, was found guilty as charged of two counts of Sexual Battery by a Person in a Familial or Custodial Authority. The jury returned the verdict late yesterday following a three-day trial in Charlotte County.
The prosecutors sought designation for the defendant as a Dangerous Sexual Felony Offender. The jury found that was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This designation means he is now facing a mandatory minimum of 50 years in prison with the maximum possible sentence being life in prison.
The criminal acts took place in Port Charlotte between May and June of 2017. The young victim told a family member what happened and they went to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office to report the crime. While the family was at the sheriff’s office reporting the crime, the defendant saw their vehicle in the parking lot. He had been on probation for a Grand Theft case and due to a previous sex offense in Sarasota County in the 1990’s, had a GPS monitor on his ankle. He cut off the monitor and ran. A K-9 unit from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office apprehended him and he was arrested for this case.
Sentencing is scheduled for February 21st. Assistant State Attorney Stephanie Powers and Assistant State Attorney Kyle Stublen prosecuted the case.
State Attorney’s Office