NWGA Scanner | September 12th, 2022

Jury convicts Summerville man of child molestation; given 10-year prison sentence

A Summerville, Ga., man has been found guilty of four counts of child molestation.

Jonathan Michael Culberson, 33, was also found guilty by a Chattooga County jury of one count of sexual battery of a child under 16 years of age. 

The case was tried over the course of two days in Summerville and was presided over by Judge Kristina Cook Graham. Judge Graham sentenced Culberson to 10 years in prison followed by 15 years of sex offender probation. 

District Attorney Chris Arnt said in September of 2020, Culberson molested the underage girl. He said Culberson sexually abused the victim by exposing himself to her and pleasured himself while looking at pornography in the presence of the child.

Nearly two weeks later and on the victim’s birthday, Culberson touched her intimate parts and placed the child’s hand on his penis, it was stated. 

The victim immediately disclosed the act to her mother, and Culberson fled to Alabama after being confronted about the allegations. After law enforcement was contacted to investigate, the victim was taken to the Child Advocacy Center for a forensic interview. 

After his arrest, Culberson admitted to the act in a recorded call to the victim’s mother. 

DA Arnt said, “Over the two-day trial, the victim courageously took the stand and faced down her abuser in front of the jury.”

Janet Burch, an expert in forensic interviews of children, testified that the type of open and quick disclosure the victim made was something “I rarely see. This a brave, fierce little girl.”

DA Arnt said, “I hope that the incredible work done by the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office and Janet Burch with the Child Advocacy Center can help her and her family heal.” 

The case was investigated by Investigator Wendell Flood of the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office. He was assisted by Chief Investigator Jason Burrage. Assistant District Attorney Clayton Fuller presented the case over two days and he was assisted by Victim Advocate Cara Parris and Administrative Assistant and Technology Consultant Ashlyn Landes. 

DA Arnt said, “My office is dedicated to protecting children from sexual predators, and I could not be more proud of my team in this case. Ms. Landes went above and beyond in using new office software to help create a compelling closing presentation for ADA Fuller, and Ms. Parris juggled the responsibilities of two serious cases being tried at the same time with aplomb. Just a complete team effort to help this child feel safe again.”