Sex offender could get 500 years in prison

Jan. 14, 2008 at 6:00 PM

LAVEEN, Ariz., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A former Laveen, Ariz., church worker could be facing a prison sentence of more than 500 years after he was convicted of multiple sex crimes.

Prosecutors said James Downs, who was convicted of 28 sex crimes against three young boys between June 2001 and September 2006, could receive the hefty prison term after his sentencing hearing Feb. 8, the Arizona Republic reported Monday.

Downs, 34, was convicted of 27 counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor. He committed the crimes while working at New Destiny Christian Church, which all three victims attended.

"I am hopeful that these convictions, and the fact that this offender never again will be able to harm a child, can bring greater peace and healing to all involved," Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said.

Michael Anthony Scerbo, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, said the law requires mandatory consecutive sentences for the crimes, which will yield a prison term of more than 500 years.

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