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WATERLOO – A Waterloo man has been found guilty of sexually abusing a girl over a number of years.

Following about a week of testimony, jurors on Tuesday found James Earl Spates Jr., 37, guilty of second-degree sexual abuse, third-degree sexual abuse and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

Sentencing will be at a later date, and Spates is in custody until then.

Prosecutors said the abuse started in 2013 when the girl was under age 12 and continued into 2016.

When the girl’s family learned of the abuse in 2017, Spates went to the police department first and denied any sexual contact with the girl, according to court records.

During the investigation, police determined Spates sent text messages to the girl asking if she liked the way he touched her and subsequent messages telling her to delete the texts.

Second-degree sexual abuse carries up to 25 years in prison, third-degree sexual abuse is punishable by up to 10 years, and up to two years for the assault charge.

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