Dayton man charged with five counts of child rape in Rhea County, Tenn.

Dayton man charged with five counts of child rape in Rhea County, Tenn.

March 13th, 2018 by Ben Benton in Breaking News

This story was updated March 13, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.

Jerry Defore

Jerry Defore

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A 59-year-old Rhea County, Tenn., man was jailed Friday on five counts of child rape linked to a victim who is now an adult and was under the age of 13 when the assaults occurred.

Jerry Lee Defore, of Dayton, was charged with five counts of rape of a child along with a felony charge of evading arrest for trying to flee deputies who were attempting to take him into custody Friday afternoon, Rhea County Sheriff's Department investigator Rocky Potter said Tuesday.

Defore is being held on $150,000 bond and has court orders that, if he is released, he is to have no contact with the victim, Potter said.

"I was conducting an investigation on Mr. Defore and we had a young lady in her early 20s who came forward and said that Mr. Defore, when she was under the age of 13, on numerous occasions had sex with her," Potter said Tuesday. "It went on for several years."

The victim was a friend of the Defore family, Potter said.

Until now, Defore had no prior criminal history of any kind, Potter said.

Some of the assaults in the case fell under changes to existing child sex crimes laws that lengthened the statute of limitations on certain child sex crimes, Potter said.

"If the offense date fell between June 20, 2006, and July 1, 2014, then the case can be prosecuted up to 25 years after the child victim turns 18," 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor said of state law as it impacts Defore's case.

In Defore's case, the changes allow authorities to charge crimes for incidents that happened when the victim was under 13 years of age, Taylor said.

Taylor and Potter said they believed Defore's case would go to the Rhea County grand jury in April.

Defore has an initial appearance set in Rhea County General Sessions Court on Friday, officials said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at