Sex offender pleads guilty to raping a child, sentenced to 35 years in prison

Sex offender pleads guilty to raping a child, sentenced to 35 years in prison
Enoch James was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday (May 8) after admitting to the rape and sexual battery of two young children.

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A 39-year-old man and convicted sex offender avoided a life sentence by agreeing to a plea deal Wednesday (May 8), according to the District Attorney’s office.

Instead, Enoch James will spend the next 35 years behind bars after admitting to raping a young child and sexually assaulting another while he was on probation in 2017, the DA said.

James pleaded guilty as charged to two counts of sexual battery of a victim younger than 13, one count of unlawful presence of a sex offender and one count of failure to register as a sex offender, as well as to four counts of amended second-degree rape charges. Both the victims’ families and Orleans Criminal District Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier agreed to the deal, the DA said, which includes credit for time served but does not allow for probation, parole or any suspension of sentence.

According to the DA’s office, James abused two children over a span of roughly six months, between March 22 and Oct. 1, 2017. One of his victims was six years old when the abuse -- including rape -- started and turned seven during the time. James’ second victim was 8 years old during the abuse.

The DA did not include any information regarding how the victims came into contact with James, who previously pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual molestation of a juvenile in 2003. At that time, James was sentenced as a multiple offender to 10 years in state prison, the DA said.

In a statement released Wednesday, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro called the sexual abuse of children “the most horrific crimes" and said it is important to take into consideration the trauma a victim can experience during a trial. The DA frequently utilizes plea deals such as this one in order to avoid bringing cases to trial that would likely cause the victims to relive their pain.

“While this defendant surely deserves a life sentence for his heinous acts, ensuring his conviction and keeping him off the streets until his mid-70s, while sparing these children further court appearances was the most prudent course of action with the greatest benefit,” Cannizzaro said.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli prosecuted this case.

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