On Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, Chief Superior Court Judge Clayton Tomlinson sentenced Jason Aaron Clendenen, 31, of Sparks to life in prison after the defendant pleaded guilty to trafficking of a person for sexual servitude, cruelty to children, first degree, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, and sexual exploitation of children, according to Superior Court records.
Other terms of the sentence include: Credit for time served since March 28, 2021, and if released, no contact with the victim and abide by sex offender special conditions.
Codefendant Shannon Marie Brooks, 30, of Valdosta, formerly of Sparks, also pleaded guilty on Feb. 1, 2023, to cruelty to children, first degree. The judge sentenced Ms. Brooks to serve four years in prison (with credit for time served since April 13, 2022), followed by 16 years’ probation. The judge also ordered Ms. Brooks to pay a $2,500 fine; perform 240 hours’ community service work; and have no contact with the victim. Ms. Brooks was barred from the Southern Judicial Circuit.
Clendenen faced multiple charges involving sexual and child cruelty offenses against a 12-year-old girl, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Douglas Office, and Cook County Sheriff’s Office. The Lowndes County Division of Family and Children Services also was involved in the case.
According to warrants taken by the GBI and Sheriff’s Office and court records, between 7 a.m. March 26 and 4 p.m. March 27, 2021, Clendenen provided the juvenile female with marijuana at a Cleveland Street, Sparks, address. On March 28, 2021, investigators found marijuana and two glass pipes and a metal grinder for drug use in the master bedroom, warrants state.
Warrants and court records further state that Clendenen created child pornography, a video recording, while engaged in sex acts with the juvenile at the Sparks address.
According to warrants and court records, Ms. Brooks caused the victim cruel and excessive physical pain by taking her to the Sparks address for participation in multiple sex acts.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Rue Smith prosecuted the cases. Defense attorneys John W. Strickland Jr. and Michael S. Bennett Jr. represented Clendenen. The State nolle prossed, or dropped, charges of cruelty to children, second degree, enticing a child for indecent purposes, child molestation (two counts), and statutory rape against Clendenen.
Public Defender Gabe Cason represented Ms. Brooks. The State nolle prossed, or dropped, charges of sex trafficking, cruelty to children, second degree, and enticing a child for indecent purposes against Ms. Brooks.