A 54-year-old Rockmart man was sentenced to life in prison on charges that he molested a developmentally disabled young child in his care over the course of years.
Before Floyd County Superior Court Chief Judge John “Jack” Niedrach sentenced Dustin Lee Dowdy to life in prison, he asked if the defendant wished to speak.
Dowdy initially declined.
The case prosecuted by the Floyd County District Attorney’s Office wasn’t the only incident where Dowdy targeted children in his care, often from his own family, Assistant District Attorney Leah Mayo said.
Outlining the abuse, Mayo discussed the fact that one side of the family had already cut ties with Dowdy after an incident involving another child. She said that pattern of abuse showed that his likelihood to reoffend was much greater than the likelihood that he would be rehabilitated during incarceration.
Referencing statements from the victim taken during a forensic interview, Mayo told the court that the victim said it felt like the abuse was taking place every day.
“For that, she should be able to live every single other day of her life safe from him,” Mayo said.
Dowdy then asked to address the court and then addressed his other adult children — none of whom attended the sentencing — effectively saying goodbye. He talked about the good times they had in the past and attempted to rebut evidence presented in the trial.
“No good deed goes unpunished,” he finished his statement.
However, a letter from three of his victims, all of whom he was a caregiver for, countered those assertions.
One of the children he abused said that she still loved him, despite his actions, but the scars of the abuse have left significant issues in her life. She referenced significant anxiety and depression, even while saying she forgives Dowdy and hopes he will find God.
“She prays that he will find God, turn to him, and repent for the things he has done,” the letter, written by the children’s mother states.
The victim in the case, however, is still struggling with anger and trust issues, the letter stated. The letter speaks about how the family brought in this young girl to build her up and give her a good life, but Dowdy’s actions callously destroyed all the work they put in.
“My duty now is to help my strong girls pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives,” the letter states.
Judge Niedrach — passing down the sentence on charges including rape of a child under the age of 10 as well as rape of a child under the age of 16 — stated that Dowdy would have to serve 30 years in prison before being considered for parole.
“This defendant’s crimes against these young girls are simply terrible to comprehend. We are so thankful that the youngest child was brave and had the courage to speak up about the abuse,” Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson said. “His sentence is such that he will, hopefully, spend the rest of his life in prison as a fitting punishment for this abuse.”
Dowdy also has similar pending charges in Polk County, according to Patterson.
This story is possible because of a news-sharing agreement with the Rome News-Tribune. More information can be found at northwestgeorgianews.com: