Mississippi music teacher, minister will serve life sentence for sexual abuse of autistic child

Published 11:39 am Tuesday, November 14, 2023

A Mississippi preacher and music teacher has been sentenced to life without parole for sexually abusing an 11-year-old autistic child.

Samuel Lamar Taylor, 52, was convicted by a Rankin County jury on September 20, 2023, of one count of sexual battery and one count of gratification of lust.

Judge Dewey Arthur sentenced Taylor on Nov. 13 to life in prison without parole for the sexual battery and 15 years in prison, to run consecutively, for a gratification of lust charge.

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Madison-Rankin County District Attorney Bubba Bramelett said Taylor served as a music teacher for over 25 years at schools across Mississippi, retiring from Richland Upper Elementary School in 2020. Taylor was also a minister at several churches throughout Rankin County, dating back to the 1980s.

On August 23, 2022, the Richland Police Department received a call from Richland Upper Elementary School concerning an 11-year-old autistic child disclosing sexual abuse to his Region 8 counselor. The child identified Taylor, his legal guardian at the time, and gave specific details regarding different instances of abuse perpetrated by Taylor at his home in Richland.

Due to the quick actions of Region 8, Richland Upper Elementary School, and Richland PD, the child was immediately removed from Taylor’s custody, and a forensic interview was conducted with the child the next day. During his interview, the child recounted, in detail, the sexual abuse he endured from Taylor from 2020-2022.