Man guilty of having sex with teen, could face life in prison if deemed ‘persistent felon’

A Fulton County man was found guilty Friday of having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

Prosecutors said Joshua Hodgson, 42, of Mayfield, had sex with the child of a friend who had let him move into his spare bedroom during the summer of 2021 in an effort to help him find a job. After moving in, Hodgson groomed the victim and committed the sexual assaults.

After Hodgson moved out, he continued the relationship online and possessed sexual explicit messages and images of the victim. The relationship came to light after Hodgson sent several threatening messages to the child and her father demanding that he return a sterling silver chain cross necklace that he had given the child as a gift.

The teen confirmed the relationship to family and law enforcement. Police searched Hodgson’s parents’ home in Mayfield. Hodgson was wearing the necklace when he was located at the home.

Hodgson corroborated many of the allegations but denied that it was a sexual relationship or that he possessed images.

Police found the images on his phone.

Hodgson was convicted of multiple counts of rape, criminal sexual act, sexual abuse, use of a child in a sexual performance and endangering the welfare of a child, possessing a sexual performance by a child and disseminating indecent materials to minors.

Hodgson could face life in prison when sentenced on April 12 because he has four previous felony convictions. If classified as a “persistent felon,” prosecutors believe the maximum sentence allowed by law is 350 years to life in prison.

“Mr. Hodgson preyed upon a vulnerable child who had recently lost her mother, but did not count on her having the fortitude and courage she showed in telling law enforcement and ultimately this jury, just what he had done to her,” he said in a statement.

“He is a career criminal, having been incarcerated previously for burglaries, car larcenies, aggravated criminal contempt for repeated domestic abuse and many acts of assaultive or menacing conduct. He is a criminal opportunist who feels he has the right to do anything he wants, regardless of whom he hurts. By his conduct, he has earned the onus of a lifetime of confinement in prison until such time as a parole board determines he is safe to release.”