RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – A former Richland music teacher and preacher has been convicted on sex crime charges.

Rankin County District Attorney Bubba Bramlett announced that Samuel Lamar Taylor, 52, was convicted by a Rankin County jury on September 20, 2023, of one count of sexual battery and one count of gratification of lust.

Taylor served as a music teacher for more than 25 years at schools across Mississippi, retiring from Richland Upper Elementary School in 2020. He was also a minister at several churches throughout Rankin County, dating back to the 1980s.

Judge Dewey Arthur will sentence Taylor on November 13, 2023. According to Bramlett, Taylor faces life imprisonment for the sexual battery and a maximum sentence of 15 years for the gratification of lust.

On August 23, 2023, Richland police received a call from Richland Upper Elementary School concerning an 11-year-old autistic child disclosing sexual abuse to his Region 8 counselor. The child identified Taylor as the suspect. According to investigators, the abuse happened from 2020 to 2022.

During the investigation, police located and interviewed at least one other victim who alleged Taylor abused him from 1990 to 1991 when Taylor worked as a counselor at the YMCA on Flowers Drive in Jackson.