A 51-year-old Carrollton man who already had served a prison term for child molestation, pleaded guilty Friday to a second molestation case — this one involving his stepchildren.

Randall Harold Kittle pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated child molestation during an appearance before Coweta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Dustin Hightower, according to a release from the circuit’s district attorney’s office.

The second prosecution of Kittle was prompted by classmates of the victims, who urged them to report their abuse to school authorities, the statement said.

The plea followed negotiations with state prosecutors and was in advance of Kittle’s trial, which had been set for Monday, Sept. 27.

Hightower ordered Kittle to serve 20 years in prison without possibility of parole, then to serve 20 years on probation. The probation terms include a requirement that Kittle never have contact with anyone under the age of 18.

According to the district attorney’s release, the victims in this case reported their abuse to school system personnel on April 8, 2019, at the urging of their classmates, one of whom had received text messages from Kittle that made them uncomfortable.

The victims in the case told school officials that Kittle had been sexually abusing them for several years while they and their mother lived with him.

Investigators found that Kittle had been convicted of child molestation a decade earlier — on May 19, 1999 — and had been sentenced to a six-year prison term, followed by nine years of probation.

The statement by the district attorney’s office stated that although Kittle had been required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, the terms of his probation — which prohibited contact with children — had expired in 2014.

The DA’s office said that in 2015, the state Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFACS) had investigated the fact that Kittle was living with children, but no allegations of abuse were uncovered. The statement said that for that reason, there was “no lawful basis” to remove either Kittle or the children from the residence at that time.

The statement added that the children in the 2019 case were interviewed by personnel at the Carroll County Child Advocacy Center who are trained to interview children. They were also medically examined by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the case was investigated by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.

District Attorney Herb Cranford said in the statement that the plea negotiation and sentence was the result of a team approach taken by law enforcement, the school system, and others.

“However, the lion’s share of the credit for this prosecution goes to the two young victims and their friends,” Cranford said in the release. “It would not have been possible without their support for one another and their courage in bringing this abuse to the attention of authority figures.”