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Catawba man sentenced for 1990s-era sex offenses

NEWTON -- A Catawba County man was convicted Tuesday of sexually abusing a child nearly two decades ago.

James William Payne III, 47, of Newton, was sentenced to between 25 years and 30 years 9 months in prison after being found guilty of first-degree sexual offense with a child and indecent liberties with a child.

Prosecutors say the alleged crimes took place in August 1994 and involved a boy under the age of 13. The district attorney’s office said the FBI was contacted initially, and the FBI forwarded the case to Catawba County prosecutors.

“Time and distance will not prevent the district attorney’s office from justice, when credible evidence exists that a crime of this magnitude has occurred,” District Attorney James Gaither Jr. said.

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