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Rome Man Sentenced to 49 Years for Child Cruelty; Sexual Assault Case


Mug Shot of Orlando Lydell Cunningham


Rome, GA- A Floyd County Superior Court judge described a 46-year-old Rome man as a monster before sentencing him to 49 years in prison for impregnating a minor child in his care.


Judge William "Billy" Sparks sentenced Orlando Lydell Cunningham to one year short of the full 50-year prison sentence possible during a hearing early Tuesday, on first-degree cruelty to children and incest charges.


Cunningham is also sentenced to one year of probation after the completion of his prison term. Georgia law requires those who will be placed on the sex offender registry to be sentenced to a term of probation in order to be classified.


During the hearing, Sparks stated that he didn't believe that Cunningham understood now, and would not ever, the gravity of his actions and the damage done to this young girl.


"He is one of the most truly evil people we have prosecuted," Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson said.


On June 1, a jury declared Cunningham guilty after finding that he had impregnated his mentally disabled stepdaughter in March 2021.


Assistant District Attorney Elisabeth Giuliani said the victim came home from school and complained that her stomach hurt. The girl couldn’t describe, or understand, what happened or why she was pregnant.


During the subsequent investigation, Cunningham claimed that he had only known the victim for a short period of time, but he'd been her caregiver since she was 2 years old, Giuliani said.


"This is why people decide to become prosecutors, to protect people in cases like this," Giuliani said.


He was initially arrested and charged in August 2021. A month later, while at the Floyd County Jail, he attacked another inmate, scratching his neck and biting his fingers. Charges regarding that incident are still pending.

(Rome News-Tribune)

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