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Friday, Apr 20, 2018
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Highlands man convicted of molesting girl

— A Highlands County jury took more than three hours to find Clarence Gordon Thorpe guilty Wednesday evening of molesting a 5-year-old girl.

According to an arrest warrant, Thorpe, 60, admitted to the sexual batteries when he was 46 in letters to his wife, Marsha. The victim is now a teenager.

In interviews at Polk County Jail, Thorpe said he performed and videotaped sexual acts with the girl over the years. However, he told a Highlands County deputy the sexual acts were at her request. He did not force the girl, Thorpe stated to Deputy Robert Livesay.

The girl, whom Thorpe claimed was sexually precocious for her age, would enter his room while he was watching pornography and wanted to watch, too.

A jury was selected on Monday. Assistant District Attorney Richard Castillo presented his case on Tuesday, and Assistant Public Defender Robert Gray rebutted with his case until Wednesday afternoon. The jury began deliberations at 4:50 p.m. and came back at 9:10 p.m.

Thorpe, who lived at 1036 Jonquil Ave., was found guilty of four counts of molestation and sexual battery of a child. Circuit Court Judge Dale Durrance set sentencing at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 22.

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