Hawkins, 63, was convicted in April in Criminal Court of two counts of rape of a child after the two victims, now 14 and 18, told jurors that Hawkins began raping them when they were as young as age 6.
They testified that the assaults continued for some eight years until 2010 when they were removed from the home.
Hawkins was sentenced to maximum 25 years in prison with no parole on each count by Judge Lee Coffee, who then ruled that the sentences should be served consecutively.
“Mr. Hawkins has earned every second of this sentence,” the judge said. “He raped these children multiple times for many years.”
The case was handled by assistant district attorneys Eric Christensen and Lessie Rainey.
Christensen is a member of the DA’s Special Victims Unit (SVU).
He called Hawkins “a serial rapist” and said the defendant made the girls prisoners in the home, isolating them from friends and even forcing them to take turns as lookouts during the crimes.
Rainey said the enhanced sentence was warranted because the girls were vulnerable victims who were treated with exceptional cruelty and because Hawkins abused a private trust.
The prosecutors said Hawkins has as many as 22 children by 11 different women.
Hawkins has three more child-rape cases that are pending trials involving three other female relatives.
His son, James Hawkins Jr., 36, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2011 for the first-degree murder of his longtime girlfriend and mother of his children, Charlene Gaither. No execution date has been set.
Hawkins Jr. also has a pending child-rape case.
The SVU prosecutes all cases of rape and aggravated rape with adult victims; child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse of child victims, and elder and vulnerable adult abuse.
Last year SVU prosecutors obtained 174 convictions of offenders either through guilty pleas or trials.
Defendants received a total of 1,586 years in prison, with nearly half of those sentences to be served at 100 percent, said SVU Chief Prosecutor Carrie Shelton.
The unit focuses on the special needs of child victims and the elderly who are the most vulnerable in the community. It also handles cases involving other special victims as directed by Gen. Weirich.
SVU was created in 2010 as an expansion of the Child Protection Investigative Team (CPIT). Prosecutors meet daily to review each new child abuse complaint and work closely with the Department of Children’s Services, Adult Protective Services, the Child Advocacy Center, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.