Grandfather figure convicted of child molestation groomed victim, Cobb prosecutors say

Gary Charles Hufstetler Sr.
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Gary Charles Hufstetler Sr.

A child molestation victim’s revelation to her therapist resulted in the conviction of a 70-year-old Marietta man she thought of like a grandfather.

Gary Charles Hufstetler Sr. was convicted Friday of child molestation by a Cobb County jury. He was sentenced to 20 years, with eight years to serve in prison and the remainder on probation, according to the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office.

The abuse began when the girl was 6 and continued until she was 11, prosecutors said. She did not initially report the incidents to police for fear of how it would affect her family.

“This predator took care in grooming and selecting a child that he thought would never tell,” said Assistant District Attorney Meredith Florio, who helped prosecute the case. “However, this young woman, now 17 years old, showed incredible strength by facing her fears and this defendant in describing to the jury the abuse she suffered at such a young age.”

Hufstetler had access to the girl through his live-in girlfriend of almost 30 years. The victim said she considered him a grandfather but was not related to him, according to prosecutors.

She told the jury the abuse started with “seemingly unintentional touches” as she and Hufstetler watched cartoons together. The abuse progressed over time, prosecutors said.

Other children in the family had made allegations against Hufstetler, but he was not previously charged. Another recent event emboldened the girl to tell her therapist and later Cobb County police, leading to Hufstetler’s indictment in the fall of 2017.

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