UPDATE: Vulnerable adult's case in Winston County ends with guilty plea

A man extradited from Alaska to face charges for the sexual battery of a vulnerable adult in Mississippi has pled guilty to the crime, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Carl E. Jernigan, age 60, formerly of 6340 Garrigus Road, Louisville, was extradited from Alaska on July 10 and served with an indictment in Winston County on July 20 for the sexual battery of a vulnerable adult for whom he was a person in a position of trust or authority.

Jernigan pled guilty to the crime this morning before Judge C. E. Morgan in Winston County and was sentenced to eight years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He must also pay a $500 fine to the Victim Compensation Fund administered by the Attorney General’s Office.

“This defendant was a trusted figure in the victim’s life, and he took advantage of that trust,” said Attorney General Hood. “He will have to serve every single day of this sentence and will have to register as a sex offender.”

The crimes Jernigan pled guilty to occurred in July 2007 when the victim was a minor. The statute defines vulnerable adult as “a person, whether a minor or adult, whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation or improper sexual contact is impaired due to a mental, emotional, physical or developmental disability or dysfunction, or brain damage or the infirmities of aging. The term “vulnerable adult” also includes all residents or patients, regardless of age, in a care facility…”.

The case was investigated by the Winston County Sheriff’s Office and the Vulnerable Adults Unit of the Attorney General’s Office and was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Treasure Tyson.

Miss. Attorney General Press Release