CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A North Carolina judge has sentenced a man to more than 100 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of seven sexual offenses dating all the way back to 1986.
A Catawba County jury found 57-year-old Rickey Dale Waldrop, Sr., of Maiden, guilty of first-degree rape, two counts of statutory sex offense, first degree sex offense and three counts of taking indecent liberties with children.
A superior court judge from Mecklenburg County sentenced Waldrop to an active prison term of 117 to 140 years.
Waldrop will serve his prison sentence in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
The sentencing took place during Catawba County Superior Court on Friday.
“I want to thank the victims in this case for coming forward, and the Catawba County Sheriff’s Department for their hard work and dedication to this case,” District Attorney Scott Reilly said in response to the verdict. “What these victims did was difficult and courageous. I hope this case serves as an example to others suffering from the effects of sexual abuse that it’s ok to come forward, and if we can, we want to fight for you. It’s never too late to speak up.”
The jury’s guilty verdict concluded a trial that lasted nearly two full weeks. Jury selection started on May 28 and was followed by presentation of evidence by the prosecutor and the defense attorney.
Witnesses described a troubled home with multiple interventions from police and the department of social services during the 1980s into the early 2000s.
While allegations of neglect and physical abuse were reported, each victim was not aware of any sexual abuse suffered by the other victims until coming forward in 2013 to report the crimes to law enforcement.
The sexual abuse described by the victims occurred over a period of years, with the jury considering specific offenses for crimes committed in 1986, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002.
The case went to the jury on Thursday, June 6 following closing arguments by both sides. Jurors deliberated briefly Thursday before resuming on Friday, reaching their decision around 11:30 a.m.
“The successful outcome of this case is the result of the hard work of the investigators involved and the outstanding presentation of that investigation by our District Attorney’s Office,” Sheriff Don Brown stated after the defendant was sentenced. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and all those impacted by the crimes committed by this defendant.”