0

Man faces charges for rape of toddler

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY -- A 28-year-old man faces life in prison if convicted of a charge of raping a 4-year-old girl in Mitchell County, officials said.

The Mitchell County rape charge surfaced while Ricky Randle was jailed in Dougherty County. Randle was jailed after being accused of molesting a 4-year-old girl in Albany, said Jason Armstrong, an investigator with the Dougherty Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office.

While investigating the initial molestation charge, investigators found 175 pictures of child pornography on Randle's Blackberry, Armstrong said. That led to a stack of paper with a child pronography charge lodged for each image on the Blackberry.

"Most of the other pictures were from the Internet," Armstrong said. "He had pictures of himself with a girl taken in a local motel room. Each picture could get him 20 years."

In connection with the sexual offenses, Regina Jay, 26, a friend of Randle, was arrested on a charge of sexual exploitation of a child for giving Randle access to a 6-year-old girl, Armstrong said. He did not say if the 6-year-old girl was the same girl depicted in the images taken at the America's Best Value Inn.

Although his address is listed in Sylvester, Armstrong said Randle had been staying with friends -- some who may have had young children at home -- in Dougherty and Mitchell counties.

Mitchell County authorities got wind of Randle's activity when the parents of a 4-year-old girl came to them, said Kevin Sellers, a Mitchell County Sheriff's Office investigator.

"Their 4-year-old daughter came to them and told them Ricky (Randle) had touched her inappropriately," Sellers said. "He took pictures of himself with their child."

When deputies began to investigate, they found Randle was incarcerated with no bail set in the Dougherty County Jail on similar charges. The Albany Police Department had arrested Randle on child molestation and he was booked into jail on Oct. 25, said Phyllis Banks, Albany Police Department spokeswoman.

Randle was charged with the more severe rape charge Monday in Mitchell County, Sellers said. It will be up to prosecutors to determine which jurisdiction will try him first.

More charges could be tacked on against Randle if more victims come forward, Armstrong said.

"They (child molesters) just didn't start doing this at age 28. Usually they have been doing this for a while," Armstrong said. "There's multiple victims out there."

Any family who has had contact with Randle is asked to contact Armstrong or Sellers.