Darrell Eugene McDaniel has been convicted of aggravated sexual battery and child molestation.
Photo: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

Gwinnett man sentenced to life for molesting fiance’s daughter

A Buford man has been convicted of molesting his fiance’s daughter, the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office said.

Darrell Eugene McDaniel, 49, was convicted of three counts of child molestation and one count of aggravated sexual battery Thursday after a four-day trial. He was acquitted of two more counts of child molestation.

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The victim’s mother called police in January when her daughter told her McDaniel had been “teaching her about sex” and molesting her. The victim’s mother had become concerned because she felt her daughter knew too much about sex for her age; she was under 13 at the time. The victim initially would not tell her mother because she was afraid her mother would get mad, the DA’s office said.

McDaniel told the girl that she needed to “get used to” the sexual abuse because “her boyfriends were going to want to do that to her,” the victim told her mother. The molestation had been occurring for at least four months, mostly when the victim’s mother was at the grocery store or traveling for work, the DA’s office said.

The victim’s mother called 911 upon learning this and then confronted McDaniel. McDaniel claimed he was being set up and left before police arrived. McDaniel claimed at trial that the victim’s biological father told the victim to lie about the abuse to destroy the relationship between McDaniel and the victim’s mother, the DA’s office said. The DA’s office argued that the victim actually had almost no relationship with her biological father due to substance abuse and issues with violence, and that the victim had seen McDaniel as a father figure before the abuse began.

McDaniel was convicted on four of six charges after a jury deliberated for three hours. Judge Karen Byers said that McDaniel “was not deserving of any leniency” because he forced the victim to testify at the trial. Byers sentenced him to the maximum of life in prison with the possibility of parole. McDaniel will not be eligible for release for 30 years; he will be 79 at that time.

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Anyone who believes they may have been exposed can get a free hepatitis A immunization, regardless of insurance status, at any Gwinnett County Health Department location.

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