A New Hanover County jury has found a Greenville man guilty on 28 sex offense charges.
Vinni Vaugier Valentine, 26, was found guilty Thursday on charges of three counts of statutory rape, five counts of statutory sex offense, 13 counts of indecent liberties with a child and seven counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, according to a news release from District Attorney Ben David.
According to an investigation by the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the parents of the 15-year-old victim allegedly signed over custody of their child to Valentine in 2013. The defendant engaged in sexual activity with the teen from March 29, 2013 through April 8, 2013.
Superior Court Judge W. Allen Cobb Jr. sentenced Valentine to 22 years in the N.C. Department of Corrections. Upon his release from prison, he is ordered to register as a sex offender for 30 years.
“It is the duty of every citizen to protect our children and that starts with parents,” Assistant District Attorney Lance Oehrlein said. “The jury and the sentencing judge helped our office send a strong message that sexual abuse against children is illegal and will be given the highest priority in the criminal justice system and in our community.”
The victim’s parents — a 53-year-old man and 54-year-old woman — have each been charged with 11 counts of felony child abuse sex act, according to jail records. The District Attorney’s office asked that their names not be released in media to protect the victim in the case.
The couple’s charges are pending in New Hanover County Superior Court. They are being held at the New Hanover County jail under $250,000 secured bonds.