September 21, 2023

Former Richland Music Teacher and Preacher Convicted of Sex Crimes

Therese Apel

Sam Taylor

A former music teacher will serve time after being convicted of sex crimes against an autistic child.

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

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

Judge Dewey Arthur will sentence Taylor on November 13. Taylor faces life imprisonment for the sexual battery and a maximum sentence of 15 years for the gratification of lust. Any sentence will be served day-for-day without the possibility of parole or early release.

On August 23, 2022, the Richland Police Department 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, his legal guardian at the time, and gave specific details regarding different instances of abuse perpetrated by Taylor at his home in Richland.

Due to the quick actions of Region 8, Richland Upper Elementary School, and Richland PD, the child was immediately removed from Taylor’s custody, and a forensic interview was conducted with the child the next day. During his interview, the child recounted, in detail, the sexual abuse he endured from Taylor from 2020-2022.

During the investigation, authorities located and interviewed at least one other victim who alleged Taylor abused him from 1990-91 when Taylor worked as a counselor at the YMCA on Flowers Dr. in Jackson.

“I want to commend the faculty and staff at Richland Upper Elementary School, the Community Support Specialist with Region 8, the Parker Children’s Center, and the Richland Police Department,” said Bramlett. “Because of this brave child victim and each of these agencies, Sam Taylor’s 30-year-old secret was finally brought to light. While these acts are ones no person should ever endure, especially a child, we hope this conviction brings closure to the victim, his family, and any other victim Taylor’s actions affected.”

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