GREENWOOD, Miss. — A former Franciscan friar was convicted Wednesday of sexually abusing a grade school student during the 1990s at a Mississippi Catholic school.

A Leflore County jury deliberated less than an hour before finding Paul West, 62, guilty of one count of sexual battery and one count of gratification of lust, the Greenwood Commonwealth reported.

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Paul West, center, is escorted by deputies from the Leflore County Civic Center in Greenwood, Miss., on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, after a jury found him guilty of sexually abusing a student at St. Francis of Assisi School in the 1990s.

West was accused of sexually abusing La Jarvis Love, now 39. Circuit Judge Ashley Hines sentenced West to 30 years on the first count and 15 years on the second count, to be served consecutively.

Love began crying when the verdict was read.

“I want to thank the state. I want to thank everybody that represented us,” Love said. “I just want to thank God, the provider, the creator. He restored my faith today. I really appreciate him, and I believe again.”


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