A Chatsworth man who authorities said committed a sex crime against a teenage girl several years ago — but could not be effectively prosecuted at the time — was convicted in Murray County Superior Court this week after the victim recently recorded him confessing to the offense.

Richard Lamar Betterton, 50, of 936 Ridgeview Lane, was found guilty of one count of child molestation by a jury on Wednesday. District Attorney Kermit McManus said allegations were investigated when the offenses occurred in 2002 and 2003.

“There was not enough to substantiate and prosecute (at the time),” he said on Friday. “The victim is now 22, and called (Betterton) two years ago when the investigation was reopened by the Murray County Sheriff’s Office. She taped a conversation — which was played for the jury — where he made significant confessions of what he did, and they were able to bring charges.”

McManus said there was an aspect to the case that was “significant to note” regarding admissibility of tape- or device-recorded evidence in court.

“(Betterton) did not know the conversation was being recorded, but it’s legal in Georgia if one person knows that the conversation is being recorded,” he said.

Judge William Boyett ordered a pre-sentence investigation before Betterton is sentenced on Aug. 25. Betterton was represented by Dalton attorney Josh Smith, who did not immediately return a phone call Friday afternoon.

 

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