By Kathy Jefcoats
JONESBORO — A Riverdale man will be sentenced Monday following his conviction on eight felonies involving child rape.
Jerry Lamar Ruffin, 41, of Treasure Drive was convicted this week of rape, two counts of child molestation, statutory rape, aggravated child molestation, incest and sexual battery. Clayton County Executive Assistant District Attorney Lalaines Briones plans to ask for the maximum sentence.
Briones said the child, who was 8 and 9 at the time of the rapes, took the stand and held her own against Ruffin’s attempt at intimidation.
“She did very well, she was very brave,” said Briones. “At one point, the defendant blurted out, ‘That’s a lie,’ but she kept testifying. She ignored him and faced him down.”
Police said the child reported the incidents to her mother in October 2011. The mother took the child to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes-Spalding for a physical exam. Warrants allege that the exam confirmed the child’s account.
The child was interviewed at Rainbow House in Jonesboro where officials said she told the same account of the rape.
Because some of the counts will merge into each other, Briones isn’t sure what the maximum sentence should be for Ruffin. However, he faces years in prison.
Child molestation often leaves little forensic evidence linking victim and suspect, making prosecution difficult, she said. In this case, the child had injuries to her genitalia that proved her allegations.
Even so, Briones told the jury during her closing statement that not all wounds are visible.
“I told them that I couldn’t show them a picture of a child’s injured soul,” she said. “There were actual injuries in this case that we could show jurors but so many of these kids, victims of sex abuse, the injuries are to their souls. This was a horrible case.”
Sentencing is set for Monday at 9 a.m. in Judge Matthew Simmons’ courtroom.