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Sex offender dad sexually abuses young daughter months before she dies in suspicious fire

An Iowa father who sexually abused his 12-year-old daughter months before she died in a suspected arson fire learned his fate this week.

Per the Des Moines Register, James Hubert Exline Jr, 47, was sentenced to 50 years for second-degree sexual abuse and 25 years for third-degree sexual abuse. Exline was convicted in June of sexually abusing his daughter, Paige Exline, who died along with her 16-year-old cousin in a fire allegedly set in May 2017 by her stepbrother, Patrick Ryan Thompson, 27.

District Court Judge James Drew said the father had learned his own son, Noah Exline, 19, was sexually abusing Paige. He put a stop to it but took over where Noah left off, Drew alleged.

Alarmingly, records revealed that James has been on Iowa’s sex offender registry for nearly a decade. He was convicted in 2009 of sex abuse and lascivious acts against two girls—one of whom was younger than 13 at the time.

“The defendant has had his chance. He is a two-time convicted sex offender. He was going through sex offender treatment and he was on lifetime parole and still chose to commit these acts against his own daughter,” Assistant Iowa Attorney General Denise Timmins said at sentencing.

The Register reported that no victim statements were read in court. Moreover, prosecutors said Paige’s mother “completely supported her father [James] throughout this,” essentially leaving only the State to advocate for the deceased 12-year-old.

Noah is facing seven counts of second-degree sexual abuse. WHO-TV reported in March that a judge ordered his trial be moved out of Greene County. His trial is set for October 30.

Meanwhile, Thompson is facing arson and murder charges in connection with last year’s fatal fire. His trial is scheduled for September 17.

The Iowa father’s conviction followed two mistrials in October and May: the first mistrial was declared after jurors searched online for information about the case; the second occurred when the prosecution’s witness provided testimony that violated a pretrial order.

James will serve the two sentences concurrently. He must serve at least 85% of his 75-year sentence before he’s eligible for parole, according to the Register.

“This was not an isolated incident. It happened over a period of time. You were already a convicted sex offender on lifetime parole,” the judge told the father.

“And even more troubling is the fact that you did this to your own daughter.”

[Featured Image: James Hubert Exline Jr., Paige Exline/KCCI video screengrab]