LOGAN — A 19-year-old Millville man has been sentenced to jail for molesting a young girl over the course of two years. Joshua A. Powell cried and apologized for what he did after confessing to additional charges.
Powell was sentenced in 1st District Court Tuesday morning, appearing by web conference from jail during a virtual hearing. He pleaded guilty to two more counts of sex abuse of a child, a second-degree felony. He previously confessed to a similar charge in April but had not been sentenced after the new allegations were uncovered.
Powell was arrested in February after molesting the 7-year-old girl while at her home during a party. He had walked into the victim’s bedroom while she was in bed, and asked to give her a hug. He then began inappropriately touching her, while kissing and licking her face.
Later, during a presentence investigation, prosecutors learned that Powell sexually abused the same girl 10-30 times during the past year. The victim told her mother how he had inappropriately touched her and licked her multiple times between Apr. 2019 and Jan. 2020.
During Tuesday’s sentencing, Powell told the court he was deeply sorry for what he did and said no words or actions could change what had happened. He promised that what took place would never happen again.
Defense attorney Wayne Caldwell said the case had been heartbreaking for neighbors and fellow church members, who trusted Powell. He expressed hope that his client would continue to seek sex-offender treatment and grow from the experience.
The victim’s parents cried as they told the court how their daughter was used as a “sexual object” by a “supposed family friend.” They tearfully described how the young girl struggled to understand why the defendant sexually abused her.
The mother said Powell was intentionally evil, secretly molesting the victim while she and her husband were home. She asked the court to sentence the defendant for two years, representing the length of time the crimes occurred.
Judge Thomas Willmore said it was courageous for the victim’s parents to face what they had gone through. He told Powell that if it hadn’t been for a plea deal reached between attorneys he would be heading to prison.
Powell was ordered to spend two years in jail and then be placed on probation. He was given credit for the six months already served. He was also prohibited from having any interactions with the victim or her family, and no contact with young children.
Judge Willmore warned Powell that if he violated his probation he could be sentenced to up to 30-years in prison.