A child sex abuse case with more than 20 charges filed against a Kiln man will proceed to a grand jury, after a judge ruled the case had sufficient evidence to move forward last week.
Hancock County Justice Court Judge Tommy Carver issued the ruling Wednesday in a probable cause hearing against 66-year-old Alex Jackie Pearson.
Pearson faces 23 separate charges related to the sexual abuse of a 10-year-old girl that allegedly occurred over the past few years. The charges include 21 counts of sexual battery, one count of child molestation and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a child.
The young girl’s mother feared her daughter was being abused after discovering a sex toy. The girl was reluctant to talk about it, prompting the mother to report her suspicions to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, investigators said.
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Deputies arrested Pearson on Oct. 13 at his home in northern Hancock County. Armed with a warrant, they searched the home and seized electronic devices and sex toys like the ones the girl had described, Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan said at the time.
“He has been abusing her for some time now, probably a year,” Grannan said at the time. “It’s really, really, bad. It’s really hard. She’s a sweetheart of a little girl, bubbly personality.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, Carver heard testimony from sheriff’s investigators and announced there was enough probable cause to send the case to the grand jury. The judge also denied a defense motion for a reduction of Pearson’s $2.3 million bond.
It’s unclear what kind of connection, if any, Pearson had with the girl’s family. He remains in the Hancock County jail.
Sun Herald staff writer Anita Lee contributed to this report.