Sentencing in Foster Child Abuse Case

| June 26, 2013
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Joseph Sprofera

A former Lafayette County man has been sentenced to life in prison for three separate crimes. Joseph Sprofera received the two latest sentences on Friday. The former foster parent was convicted of statutory sodomy for molesting former foster children under his care. His first conviction is under review by the Court of Appeals.

Press Release from Lafayette County Prosecuting Attorney Kellie Wingate Campbell

Joseph Sprofera, a former Lafayette County resident and foster parent, was sentenced to life in prison last Friday on two counts of statutory sodomy. With this most recent sentence, Sprofera is now serving three consecutive life sentences for molesting former foster children who resided with him in Lafayette County. Friday’s sentences were handed down by Clay County Circuit Judge Shane Alexander who called the case the most ‘horrific’ he had encountered.

Lafayette County Prosecutor Kellie Wingate Campbell presented the case to a Clay County jury in April following the defendant’s motion for change of venue. The victim in the case, now an adult, reported the abuse in May of 2010 after two other victims came forward in 2009. The victim testified at trial that the abuse had been ongoing for several years. A jury of eight men and four women deliberated for just under one hour before returning a verdict of guilty on each count. All three victims resided at some point during childhood with the defendant, along with his former wife who filed for divorce following the disclosure of sexual abuse.

Sprofera was first convicted in September of 2010 and that conviction was affirmed in 2012 following a nearly two-year appeal process. In his second trial involving a separate victim, he received a life sentence from Clay County Judge Larry Harman for statutory rape in the first degree. That trial concluded in August of 2011 and is currently under review by the Court of Appeals. Each of the three separate juries empaneled to consider the cases was not allowed to hear evidence regarding other victims prior to a finding of guilt.

On the eve of the third and final trial, Sprofera’s attorney argued that the third trial might not be necessary if the Court of Appeals affirmed the life sentence that resulted from the second trial. Campbell countered that it could take up several months before the appeal was final and that this delay would negatively impact the State’s case. Given the length of time required to complete the appeals process, the Court opted to proceed with the third trial rather than wait for confirmation of Sprofera’s current life sentence.

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