The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

June 16, 2012

Athens mom convicted of child sex abuse, torture

ATHENS — Editor's note: Some information in this story might be inappropriate for young people.

A Limestone County jury has convicted Suzanne Bennison, 45, of Athens, of first-degree sexual abuse and sexual torture involving her 6-year-old daughter in 2008.

Jurors received the case about 4:30 p.m. Friday after four days of testimony, and returned a verdict about 9:15 p.m.

Bennison was accused of touching her daughter's genitals and inserting an inanimate object into her daughter on multiple occasions while at their home in Athens in 2008. During the trial, the 12-member jury saw a videotaped interview of the victim describing the abuse at age 6. The child, now age 10 and living in another state, also testified in court this week about the abuse, recalling some of what she testified to four years before. 

Defense attorney Mike Lambert of Athens attempted to prove Bennison did not abuse the child but, rather, that the abuse occurred while she was in foster care.

Bennison will be sentenced Aug. 2 by Circuit Judge James Woodroof Jr., who presided at the trial. She is facing a sentence of 99 years to life in prison because she has two prior felony convictions, said Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Doug Evans, who was the prosecutor in the case. The Limestone County District Attorney's Office had recused itself from the case because attorneys in the office had represented Bennison in previous cases. 


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