Sunday, August 14, 2022

Wilmington man receives at least 37 years for child sex abuse

Kelton “Buck” Lewis was found guilty of sexually abusing a nine-year-old boy in the summer of 2018. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy District Attorney’s office)

WILMINGTON  — Kelton “Buck” Lewis was found guilty Monday for the sexual abuse of a nine-year-old boy and sentenced to 37 to 54 years imprisonment.

Lewis, 59, was a lifelong friend of the victim’s family and was babysitting the boy in the summer of 2018 when the abuse occurred, according to a release from District Attorney Ben David’s office. 

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“Kelton Lewis will die in prison. This is the only appropriate sentence for a man who has inflicted this amount of harm. Thieves take things, but child molesters steal a childhood,” David said.

Superior Court Judge Kent Harrell handed down the sentence after a week-long jury trial, also ordering Lewis to register as a sex offender if he is ever released from prison. The New Hanover County jurors found Lewis guilty of Statutory Sex Offense, Attempted Statutory Sex Offense, and three counts of Indecent Liberties with a Child.

This wasn’t the first time Lewis faced similar charges. In 2002, he was charged for Statutory Sex Offense with a Child under 13, Crimes Against Nature, and Indecent Liberties with a Child. But he was found not guilty after a jury trial in 2003.

Lewis was then charged with Indecent Liberties with a Child in 2004, but those charges were dropped when the victim was unavailable to testify, according to the release.

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