November 13, 2023

Former Richland music teacher/preacher gets life in prison on child sex charges

Therese Apel

Samuel Lamar Taylor

Samuel Lamar Taylor, 52, has been sentenced to life without parole after he was convicted by a Rankin County jury on September 20, 2023, of one count of sexual battery and one count of gratification of lust.

He will serve 15 years on the gratification of lust charge. The sentences will be served day-for-day without the possibility of parole or early release.

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.

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,” stated District Attorney Bubba 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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