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

Rankin County District Attorney Bubba Bramlett said Samuel Lamar Taylor, 52, was sentenced to life without parole on a sexual battery charge and 15 years for one count of gratification of lust.

Taylor was previously convicted by a Rankin County jury on September 20, 2023.

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.

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.