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Former Gulfport Parks Employee Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

67-year-old James Gordon Vice pleaded guilty to a lesser charge as part of a plea agreement after admitting to sexual activity with an 8-year-old girl in 2003. The girl, now a teenager, came forward with the information in November 2011.

Former City of Gulfport employee James Gordon Vice pleaded guilty on Friday April 13, for attempted sexual battery. Vice was sentenced to 10 years in prison with four years of probation following his release. He will have to register as a sex offender upon release.

By entering a plea agreement, the case did not have to go to trial and the victim did not have to testify, according to Gulfport Police Det. Sgt. Robert Burkhart.

Vice was arrested in November for capital sexual battery on a child under the age of 12, a felony. Gulfport Police say the 16-year-old girl talked to a school counselor at Boca Ciega High School. The school counselor then notified a School Resource Officer.

"It had been bothering her for eight years. She finally had the courage to talk to the counselor," Det. Sgt. Robert Burkhart said.

Burkhart says the department conducted several "controlled phone calls" from the victim's home in Gulfport. The 16-year-old spoke with James Vice and during one conversation, Vice admitted to sexual activity that happened eight years ago and apologized.

During a "controlled phone call" with the victim's mother, Vice admitted to "inappropriate contact" between him and the victim and stated that he was molested when he was a child, according to the Gulfport Police Report.

According to the report, the victim said there were between 50 and 60 incidents between 2003 and 2005 while under Vice's care at his Gulfport home. Some of the incidents happened in Vice's car and at least one incident occured at Tomlinson Skate Park in Gulfport.

Vice was a parks maintance worker with the City of Gulfport. According to Human Resources Vice was employed in August of 1989 and fired on December 6, 2011.

Kim Morrissey April 19, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Thank you for the follow-up story Cherlene. 10 years is not nearly long enough, but I understand the reasoning of sparing the victim from testifying. She was very brave to come forward.
Nancy Kelley April 19, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Vice gets 10 years. The victim gets life. This Heinous crime is disgusting and the punishment certainly does not justify what has been done to this child's life.

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