The child did not think anything could be done and didn't report the abuse until years after the fact, officials say.

CRESTVIEW — Crestview man has been sentenced to 15 years of prison, followed by 15 years of sexual predator probation, for sexually assaulting a little girl in his home over a period of four to five years.

The abuse took place more than 20 years before it was reported, according to a press release from the First Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office. The victim didn't tell anyone for fear of being returned to an abusive mother and rejected by her family, according to a press release from the First Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office.

The State Attorney's office announced the sentencing of Bobby Jelks Wilson Jr., 65, on Thursday. He pleaded to charges of attempted sexual battery on a victim under the age of 12 and will be designated a sexual predator for the rest of his life.

Wilson sexually assaulted his then 9-year-old victim in his Crestview home. The abuse began as inappropriate touching and progressed to sexual intercourse on a regular basis, the release said. The abuse finally stopped in 1996 after Wilson remarried and the child left the area.

The victim continued to suffer from the effects of Wilson’s sexual abuse, spoke to a few close friends about it and sought regular counseling but did not report it because she believed nothing could be done, the release said. 

She finally disclosed the abuse to a Florida law enforcement officer in the course of an online conversation and was told that, due to her young age at the time of the abuse, she could, in fact, still make a report. The victim then did make a report to her local authorities in Austin, Texas, who then forwarded it to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and an investigation was initiated that resulted in the arrest and conviction of Wilson.

Wilson was arrested in August of 2018. At the time, he was working as a civilian contractor on a local military installation, according to news accounts. He was initially charged with felony sexual assault by a custodian older than the age of 18.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation, with the assistance of the Austin Police Department, and State Attorney’s Office Investigators, and made the arrest.