A Beaufort man pleaded guilty Monday to molesting a 10-year-old girl and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Just before jury selection began at the Beaufort County Courthouse, Jimmy Selsey, 40, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, according to a news release from the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office.
Selsey is required by law to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence -- 21 years and three months -- before becoming eligible for parole, according to the release. The sentence was handed down by Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen.
Selsey was accused of touching and having intercourse with the girl on several occasions in October 2011.
Investigator George Erdel with the Beaufort Police Department said the child lived part-time with members of her extended family and part-time at a home on Lafayette Street where Selsey also lived.
On Oct. 2, the child told a relative about the abuse. The relative called police and took the girl to the hospital. She underwent a forensic interview at Hope Haven, a nonprofit children's-advocacy and rape-crisis center in Beaufort, on Oct. 10. Immediately afterward, three warrants were served on Selsey, whom police found sitting on the porch of the Lafayette Street home.
The warrants were for two encounters Oct. 1 and one on Oct. 2. Parts of the child's story were corroborated by a witness who did not see the abuse, but described a similar timeline of events that day, Erdel said.
The child also said during her interview that Selsey threatened her, telling her she would never see her sister again if she spoke about the abuse, he said.
Selsey did not have a prior history of child abuse, Erdel said.
"The community is a safer place now that Jimmy Selsey can't do this to another child," assistant solicitor Mary Jordan Lempesis said in the release. "He looked for someone he had easy access to and molested a child he was supposed to be caring for while her mother was at work. I am proud of this little girl for having the strength to report the abuse to her family and for being willing to testify in the trial if it had moved forward."