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Baton Rouge man convicted of raping eight-year-old girl

November 2, 2021 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Baton Rouge man convicted of repeatedly raping an eight-year-old girl faces life in prison after she testified against him in court.

The jury unanimously convicted Anthony James Tipton of first degree rape, sexual battery of a juvenile under 13 and molestation of a juvenile under 13. A life sentence on the rape conviction is mandatory.

Tipton, 34, was arrested in June 2016 by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. The trial was scheduled to start in March 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The girl told her story in court, describing a series of sexual assaults that started as requests to “snuggle” and lasted for months, from September 2015 into 2016, according to the The Advocate.

She gave her testimony with the help of her emotional support dog, a Labrador and Golden Retriever mix named Diesel. Tipton’s defense attorney Stephen Moore argued before trial that Diesel’s presence was meant to sway the jury. Judge Beau Higginbotham disagreed and allowed Diesel to stay.

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Tipton opted not to testify on own his behalf.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III praised the victim for her bravery leading up to Saturday’s conviction, recalling her initial talk with investigators where she gave “a revealing, shocking, and compelling” videotaped interview.

“She then, several years later, bravely and honestly faced the perpetrator in open court in front of the jury,” Moore said, according to the Advocate. “We also commend the victim’s family for taking action when she disclosed the abuse and for believing in her and supporting her throughout this lengthy process.”