Sentencing rescheduled to Jan. 11 for Palmer, Tennessee, man guilty of child rape

Nov. 30—A sentencing hearing for a Palmer, Tennessee, man who potentially faces more than a century in prison in a conviction on charges of rape of a child and attempted rape of a child has been reset for January, according to court officials.

James Allen Worley, 28, was scheduled for a Nov. 17 sentencing hearing that was delayed by presentencing reports that weren't completed in time, 12th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney David McGovern said Tuesday in a telephone interview. He said the state's reports, required for court action, would be completed before Worley's rescheduled hearing before Circuit Court Judge Justin Angel in Grundy County on Jan. 11.

“We will definitely be ready to have that sentencing in January,” McGovern said.

Worley's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Bob Morgan with 12th Judicial District Public Defender Jeff Harmon's office, said the defense must have at least 10 days to review the reports before the hearing.

“We still haven't received it, but we anticipate it any day,” Morgan said.

He said a 30-day period will follow sentencing in which a motion for a new trial — standard procedure on the defense's part — will be filed on Worley's behalf and the case will likely be turned over to an appellate division in Nashville going forward.

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Worley was found guilty in a Grundy County Circuit Court jury trial in August of four counts of rape of a child and one count reduced in the conviction to the lesser-included offense of attempted rape of a child, according to officials and court records.

The incidents occurred between January 2018 and October 2019 and involved a child younger than 13 years old, court records state. Worley first spoke with Grundy County sheriff's deputies after authorities were made aware of the allegations on Oct. 16, 2019, records state.

Worley could if he's given the maximum sentence on each of the counts and the sentences are ordered to be served one after the other. Rape of a child is a felony punishable by at least 25 years in prison and a fine up to $50,000, under state law. Attempting to commit child rape is also a felony, carrying a sentence of eight to 12 years in prison.

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If Worley is sentenced consecutively on each of the five counts, the minimum sentence could be at least 108 years, according to state sentencing guidelines. The judge also can order the sentence on each count to be served concurrently, or at the same time, which would result in less prison time. Any fine will be decided at the January hearing, records state.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.

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