By WALB News Team| March 10, 2020 at 11:14 AM EDT – Updated March 10 at 11:14 AM
NASHVILLE, Ga. (WALB) – Two Berrien County men are headed to prison for child molestation after a judge approved plea bargains last week with the Alapaha Circuit District Attorney.
District Attorney Dick Perryman said Tuesday that Anthony Edward Taft, 23, pleaded guilty to child molestation and cruelty to children for his crimes against a 13-year-old girl. Taft received a 20-year sentence with the first seven years to be served in the Georgia prison system.
Taft will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Once released from prison, probation for Taft includes banishment from Atkinson, Berrien, Clinch, Cook and Lanier counties for the rest of his sentence.
Sidney Harper, 34, pleaded guilty to child molestation for his crimes against a 14-year-old girl, according to Perryman. Taft received a 20-year sentence with the first five years to be served in confinement. Harper will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Once released from prison, probation for Taft includes banishment from Atkinson, Berrien, Clinch, Cook and Lanier counties for the rest of his sentence.
“I am proud that these men are being held accountable for their actions and they will spend years behind bars to pay for what they have done,” said Perryman. “The children of South Georgia are safer with these individuals locked away. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Ray Paulk, did excellent work in investigating these cases. I am proud of my staff for all their hard work and must commend ADA Allen Lawson for all his efforts. It is crucial that we continue to pursue and prosecute these cases for the benefit of our community and the safety of our children.”
Both men will be required to attend sex offender treatment during their sentences. Sex offender conditions of probation also require that both men must submit to lie detector tests, which they must pay for out of their own pocket, according to the district attorney’s office.
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