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New local NAACP president on sex offender list

The recently-elected president of the Brookhaven/Lincoln County NAACP chapter is a convicted felon who served time for sexual battery and the sale of cocaine.

Rico Cain, pastor of Greater Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, took over as president of the area chapter Jan. 1 and will be sworn in Sunday following the resignation of longtime president Bernetta Character.

Cain is listed on the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry as part of his sentence after he pleaded guilty in September 1992 to sexual battery. According to the indictment, Cain was accused of non-consensual sex with a “mentally defective female.”

Cain said he was 21 and the woman was 24.

He also pleaded guilty to the unlawful sale of cocaine within 1,500 feet of a vocational school — named in the indictment as the Lincoln Residential Center.

Cain readily admits to being guilty of the drug crimes, but said that pleading guilty to sexual battery was a part of his plea deal at the time. Cain claims that his attorney at the time was dismissed before he could prepare for trial and the plea deal offered to him at the time included the sexual battery charge.

Cain was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

He served six years, released for good behavior after recommendations by former  Lincoln County Sheriff Lynn Boyte and former Brookhaven Chief of Police Fred McKee. Cain’s probation was terminated on Nov. 7, 2002.

“As a young man, I did make mistakes, but I’ve asked God to forgive me, and he has forgiven me. I’ve moved on, and I have a loving wife and family,” he said.

Character, who was president of the chapter for 11 years, said she also made mistakes as a teenager and ran with gangs. She said that Cain’s story along with her story might be an inspiration to the youth of Lincoln County.

“That’s why I want my story to be told to so that our young people and the African American community will know just because you make a mistake don’t mean you can’t be a constructive, responsible citizen,” she said.