74-year-old James Prosperie was sentenced in a Smith County courtroom Tuesday, and received 16 years in prison for the sexual assault of a child and 16 years in prison indecency with a child involving sexual conduct. The sentences will be served consecutively.
Prosperie pleaded guilty on the charges in April on a case involving sexual acts that occurred over a three week period in the summer of 2013 and involved a 14-year-old child, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by Tyler Police investigators.
On Tuesday prosecutors outlined the graphic nature of what Prosperie did to his victim, asking for two twenty year terms in prison served consecutively--the maximum allowed under the law.
"He took her innocence," Smith County Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Biggs said. "No 14-year-old in this community should experience that. He is a cool and calculated predator."
Prosperie's defense attorney argued that Prosperie's clean record should sway the court toward a lower sentence, adding that a medical evaluation resulted in claims that side effects of the steroid Prednisone led to unexpected changes in his client's behavior.
"He apparently had lost his mind," Robert Perkins, Jr. said. "We found out that Mr. Prosperie's mental health is declining."
At the same time, Perkins said Prosperie was prepared to take responsibility for his actions.
"He knows this was his fault," Perkins said.
Biggs argued that Prosperie had carefully started small with his advances and worked his way to more disturbing behavior as he tested boundaries. Biggs then alluded to the story of another woman who told investigators Prosperie had forced sex on her.
"That's where it was headed with this," Biggs said. "Except for the courage of a 14-year-old girl who knew it was wrong."
Prosperie's victim sat silently and largely without reaction as he was sentenced. Later she took the stand to make a victim impact statement.
"I trusted you," she said, crying. "I loved you. But you hurt me."
"We did love you and we did trust you," her mother said, crying. "Otherwise you couldn't have done this. So today's for all your victims. May God have mercy on your soul."
The former Tyler pharmacist owned The Medicine Shoppe on Fifth Street for many years. He was originally charged with an additional two counts of indecency with a child involving sexual contact. In April prosecutors announced the dismissal of those charges as part of Prosperie's plea agreement.