A Tuscaloosa, AL, resident was recently sentenced by a Birmingham court to more than 27 years in prison for two sex crime charges. Prince Knight, 38, had been convicted in March of this year for one count of travel with intent to engage in sexual conduct and a second count of transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
According to reports, Knight was sentenced on June 10 by Judge L. Scott Coogler to 327 months imprisonment, followed by a lifetime of “supervised release.” Once released from jail, Knight must also register as a sex offender. He also has been ordered not to have unsupervised contact with any child less than 18 years of age.
The crime that initiated the charges occurred in January 2008 and involved Knight traveling from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Manhattan, Kansas, for the alleged purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a 15-year-old child. Knight reportedly picked up the child in Kansas and brought her back to his apartment in Tuscaloosa.
This is a sad case because the defendant worked as a cafeteria attendant at a local Tuscaloosa elementary school. The charges during the period in question, regardless of the outcome in court, surely would have haunted him for many years — such is the misfortune of those accused of a sex crime. As it turns out, the guilty verdict sealed his fate. Many of the clients I represent as a Birmingham criminal defense attorney are already in a tough spot, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve the most aggressive defense possible.
In this case, the defendant already had the deck stacked against him. The prosecution called on his supervisor from the elementary school where he worked to testify that Knight called in sick on a Monday, but then showed up for work the very next day. Meanwhile, the 15-year-old girl he brought back to Alabama had left a note for her parents indicating that she had run away to visit her biological father in California.
Police subsequently located and retrieved the child in Tuscaloosa about a week later. The case involved the Riley County Police Department in Kansas, the Tuscaloosa County Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Being accused of any crime is serious, but with sex crimes involving minors, law enforcement is especially dogged in its efforts to bring the accused to justice. If you or someone you care about is in this type of situation, you should seek a qualified legal professional to handle your case as soon as possible.
Tusc. school cafeteria worker sentenced in child sex scheme, NBC13.com, June 11, 2009