Federal investigators and Memphis Police Child Sex Abuse investigators arrested Courtney T. Knowles after their investigation revealed he raped his two nieces while living with his half sister and her three children. Shortly after moving in with them, Knowles and his half sister became lovers. The couple had two more children from that union.
The mother filed a police report on April 26th, 2007. She told investigators that she discovered sexually explicit video images of her oldest daughter, (age twelve), saved on Knowles’ video camera. The investigation revealed evidence that Knowles had also raped the woman’s ten year old daughter. Knowles was indicted by a federal grand jury and on February 10th, 2009, he was found guilty at trial for possessing and producing child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge Jon P. McCalla sentenced Knowles, now age 31, to a mandatory 40 year term, with lifetime supervision upon release.
The criminal investigation into the state’s child rape charges was conducted by the Memphis Police Department’s Child Sex Abuse Unit and the Shelby County Child Protection Investigative Team. The older child, now sixteen years of age, testified in Knowles’ 2009 Federal pornography trial. The child also had to testify in the state case against Knowles for raping her. Knowles awaits a second trial date for the rape of his younger niece, who was ten years old during the same period.
“Unfortunately this child victim was forced to relive events in her young life that one shouldn’t have to go through once,” said Jennifer Nichols, Chief Prosecutor for the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Special Victim Prosecution Unit, (SVU). “This young lady has testified in both the federal pornography trial and now in her own rape trial. She is an amazing young lady. In addition, we couldn’t have had a better jury and we are so very grateful for the decision they reached in this case”
Rape of a child is a class A felony with a maximum sentence of 25 years. Knowles is scheduled for sentencing on March 1st, 2012.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Nichols, Chief Prosecutor for the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) and Assistant District Attorney Sam Winnig prosecuted the case before Honorable Judge James Lammey.