A Buford man was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of child molestation and aggravated sexual battery against the 11-year-old daughter of his fiance.

A jury convicted Darrell Eugene McDaniel on three counts of child molestation and one count of aggravated sexual battery. He was acquitted on two other counts of child molestation.

According to the girl's mother, the daughter told her that McDaniel was “teaching her about sex,” according to the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office The girl told her mother about the incident Jan. 3.

“This conversation started because (the mother) was asking her daughter while she put her to bed how she knew so much about sex,” prosecutors said in a statement.

McDaniel was sentenced to life in prison, but he will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years of his sentence.

Prosecutors said the girl told her mother the sexual contact had been taking place since the beginning of the school year.

McDaniel’s attorneys accused the girl of making up the accusations during the trial. The District Attorney's office said the girl’s parents were divorced and that McDaniel’s attorneys alleged during the trial that her father had convinced her to make the accusation. He also told the judge that he felt he had not received a fair trial.

Prosecutors argued that, prior to the alleged sexual molestation, the girl had a better relationship with McDaniel than her father — with whom she allegedly had “almost no relationship” — and that she had no incentive to do anything for her father.

The girl allegedly treated McDaniel as a father figure prior to the alleged sexual molestation.

The victim was initially hesitant about answering her mother’s question about how much she knew about sex, according to the District Attorneys Office.

“The victim said she didn’t want to say because her mother would get mad,” prosecutors said. “After assuring her she wouldn’t, (the daughter) told (the mother) that McDaniel (also known as ‘Bear’) had been putting his fingers in her private (parts) and telling her that ‘she needed to get used to it because her boyfriends were going to want to do that to her.’ “

Afterward, the mother called 911 and then confronted McDaniel, who told her he was being set up.

The daughter was taken to Mosaic for a forensic medical exam and interview.

“The forensic medical exam noted no injury, although the victim reported the last encounter had been two weeks before her disclosure,” prosecutors said.

“During the forensic interview, the victim was able to provide some additional detail, including a description of other incidents including McDaniel putting his mouth on her breasts, touching her breasts, having her touch his penis and displaying his penis to her.”

Meanwhile, detectives went to speak with McDaniel.

“He angrily denied the charges and provided a range of explanations including that the victim was mad at him for disciplining her, that she got the idea because her softball coach had been arrested for touching little girls, and that he would never touch a kid that way,” prosecutors said.

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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