RUSSELLVILLE — A former kindergarten volunteer who was convicted in a sexual abuse case has been sentenced to seven years in prison, authorities said.

James Lamar Horton, 72, of Red Bay received the sentence this week, Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said.

He was sentenced by Franklin County Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey. The sentence does not allow a chance for early release.

Horton had been indicted by a Franklin County grand jury in March 2018 for inappropriately touching and exposing himself to students, according to officials.

Courthouse officials said his charges had included criminal surveillance, two counts of sexual abuse of a child younger than 12, four counts of indecent exposure, and two counts of a school employee having sexual contact with students younger than 19.

He was arrested in January 2018 after an investigation into the allegations by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's State Bureau of Investigation.

The indictments stemmed from accusations Horton touched two girls inappropriately, exposed himself to other students, and watched a student while she was in the bathroom, according to court officials.

Authorities said the allegations were reported after one of the students told parents.

Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation regional office in Russellville began an investigation on Jan. 2, 2018, after being contacted by Red Bay police, SBI Capt. Jonathan Winters said.

Red Bay Police Chief Jana Jackson said her office contacted the SBI after being notified of the allegations on Dec. 26, 2017.

Horton was serving as a volunteer member of the Foster Grandparent Program of Northwest Alabama, assigned to the school's kindergarten.

According to the indictment, Horton was accused of engaging in sexual contact with a student younger than 19; intentionally engaging in surveillance of an individual where the person had an expectation of privacy for the purpose of "sexual gratification"; subjecting two children to sexual contact; and exposing himself to the students for the purpose of sexual gratification.

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski

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