Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace announced last week that Brian Keith Cantrell, 41, had been convicted and sentenced for sexually assaulting a juvenile in Cherokee County.
After deliberating for seven hours over the course of two days, a Cherokee County jury delivered a guilty verdict on Aug. 27. Cantrell was sentenced at a hearing on October 31.
The jury found Cantrell guilty of one count of aggravated child molestation, five counts of child molestation, one count of enticing a child for indecent purposes, one count of cruelty to children in the first degree, and two counts of violating family violence order.
The charges stem from incidents occurring from 2015-2017. The child reported the abuse to a relative who advised the child to go to law enforcement, Wallace said in a statement.
During her closing statements, Assistant District Attorney Cait Adcock said Cantrell manipulated the victim and used his authority to coerce a child into cooperating with his assault.
“Brian Cantrell systematically molested a child over the course of two years. He claimed he was only ‘snuggling’ with the child, but his intentions were sick and perverted,” said Adcock, who tried the case. “The victim was so brave in coming forward to ensure that other children will not endure sexual abuse from this man.”
Superior Court Judge David Cannon Jr. sentenced Cantrell to serve 30 years in prison, with the remainder of life on probation. Upon release, Cantrell will be required to register as a sex offender.
“The jury did a great job reviewing extensive evidence and ensuring that justice was served,” Wallace said. “The horrific abuse this child suffered is beyond conceivable. I’m pleased that when the child finally had the courage to report the abuse, caring adults listened and promptly took the child to the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office so the crime could be investigated. When adults commit these acts on innocent children, we as a society must act. People like Brian Cantrell need to be behind bars.”