Man sentenced to 30 years for sexually abusing girl

CENTRAL — A Central man was sentenced to 30 years in prison last week after being found guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

A Pickens County jury found Vernon Glen Evans, of 221 Bluejay Road, guilty last week. He will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, imposed by judge Clifton B. Newman, before he is eligible for parole.

Witnesses, including the victim, testified against Evans at trial. According to testimony, Evans was a close friend of the girl’s father and volunteered to babysit her and her sister on weekends.

Solicitor Walt Wilkins’ office said Evans used the relationship with the girls to sexually abuse the child, and the girl’s sister saw the abuse on at least one occasion.

The children did not immediately reveal the abuse, but law enforcement was contacted and an investigation started when the girls disclosed what had happened.

During the course of the investigation, conducted by detective Brian Swafford of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, assistance was sought from the Julie Valentine Center in Greenville.

The Julie Valentine Center supplied a specially trained forensic interviewer to talk to the victim and her sister, a board-certified medical doctor to examine the victim for injuries and an expert in the field of child sexual abuse. The experts assisted the sheriff’s office during the trial.

Assistant solicitor Sam Tooker tried the case on behalf of the solicitor’s office.