Three sentenced in ‘worst case of child abuse to ever occur in Vernon’

Published 3:26 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Three people convicted of what authorities have called one of the worst cases of child abuse to ever occur in Vernon Parish were sentenced on Tuesday.

Judge Scott C. Westerchil handed down sentences to Stacy Tharpe, 32, Dakota Singletary, 24, and Allen Clayton Fulks, 23, for each’s role in the abuse of a 7 year-old girl who was found by authorities in July 2020.

In October, Fulks was found guilty on three counts of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile by a unanimous jury.

In 2021, Tharpe and Singletary pleaded guilty to one count each of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile and testified against Fulks during his October trial.

On Tuesday, Westerchil sentenced Fulks to 15 years for each of his three counts, to run consecutively, making a total sentence of 45 years with the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

Each count had a maximum possible sentence of 40 years.

Tharpe was sentenced to 10 years with the Department of Corrections and Singletary received a 20 year sentence.

During sentencing, Westerchil brought attention to the Rosepine Police Department for their work and diligence in the investigation, saying that he believed the child would not have survived were it not for the officers involved.

During Fulks’ trial, officials testified that the child had been secreted by the three defendants for approximately two months during which time she was physically and mentally abused, and deprived of food and water.

District Attorney Terry Lambright supported Westerchil’s statements.

“The trauma and anguish suffered by this child is unspeakable and deplorable. I agree with Judge Westerchil that the child would most likely not be alive without the exceptional work by law enforcement. The Rosepine Police Department, Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana State Police did an outstanding job,” Lambright said.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Wayne Bush.