Gadsden man, 63, convicted of sexually abusing young girl, faces 20-year prison sentence

Floyd Stephen Whiteside

A Gadsden man has been found guilty by an Etowah County jury of sexually abusing a young girl numerous times over a two-year period, the district attorney's office announced.

Floyd Stephen Whiteside, 63, was convicted of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years of age by a jury after less than an hour of deliberation. Whiteside is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 2 and faces up to 20 years in prison.

According to testimony from the victim, Whiteside began touching her inappropriately when she was just seven years old and the abuse continued on numerous occasions over a two-year period. The victim didn't tell her parents about the inappropriate relationship until she was 13 years old, at which time an investigation was launched by the Gadsden Police Department with assistance from the James M. Barrie Center for Children, the Etowah Co. District Attorney's Office and the Etowah County Department of Human Resources.In a release, Deputy District Attorney Carol Griffith said while the prosecution of Whiteside was difficult for the victim and her family they showed great courage in their quest for justice.

"It requires a tremendous amount of courage to follow through with the trial on this type of case, especially where the incidents occurred when the victim was so young," Griffith said.{}

District Attorney Jimmie Harp said his office remains determined to prosecute child predators before expressing gratitude towards the jury for handing down the conviction of Whiteside."As always, this office will continue to vigorously prosecute those who mistreat and prey upon the children in our community. We intend to seek maximum sentences in those cases," Harp said. "I appreciate the jury bringing justice and taking this perpetrator off of the streets."{}{}{}