Grundy County man gets 150-year sentence in child rape case

Sheriff says in his 30-year career, James Allen Worley's crime was 'most heinous'

Contributed by Grundy County Sheriff's Office / James Allen Worley of Palmer, Tenn.
photo Contributed by Grundy County Sheriff's Office / James Allen Worley, 28, of Palmer, Tenn.

A Palmer, Tennessee, man was sentenced Tuesday to 150 years behind bars on multiple counts of rape of a child and a count of criminal attempt to commit rape of a child.

It's possibly the longest prison sentence handed down in Grundy County's history, according to officials.

James Allen Worley, 28, was convicted of the charges in an August jury trial before 12th Judicial District Criminal Court Judge Justin Angel, who handed down the sentence this week. Jurors found Worley guilty of four counts of rape of a child and one count reduced in the conviction to the lesser-included offense of attempted rape of a child, court records show.

Worley was sentenced to 35 years on each of the four child rape counts and 10 years on the attempted child rape count, all ordered to run consecutively, District Attorney General Mike Taylor said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

Worley was represented at trial and in Tuesday's sentencing hearing by Public Defender Jeff Harmon's office.

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"Since I have not been able to speak with the team that handled the case, I would not be able to comment," Harmon said Tuesday in a telephone interview. He said the team handling Worley's case had a full docket in Grundy County Criminal Court on Tuesday, and he didn't expect to hear from them immediately.

Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum said the sentence was proper.

"In almost 30 years of law enforcement, this is the most heinous case of child rape I've ever seen," Shrum said Tuesday in a news release on the sentencing.

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"I am proud of the investigative and prosecutorial work done in this case. I also want this to serve as notice to any child sex predator, these cases will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted," Shrum said.

The incidents in the allegations of the case occurred between January 2018 and October 2019 and involved a child younger than 13 years old, court records state. Worley first spoke with Grundy County Sheriff's deputies after authorities were made aware of the allegations on Oct. 16, 2019.

Worley still has the right to appeal the conviction and sentence in his case, officials said.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.