Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tyler Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Sexual Assault

A Tyler man found guilty of sexual assault with a child was sentenced to 10 years in the state penitentiary and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine Thursday morning in Smith County's 7th District Court.

A jury found the defendant, 32, was found guilty of the crime Wednesday in Judge Kerry Russell's court.

In the punishment phase Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Richard Vance argued the defendant's failure to meet pre-trial bond agreements, the 17-year age difference, and the relationship the defendant had with the victim before the incident gave the jury cause to send him to jail for the maximum time.

Having been convicted of a second-degree felony, the defendant faced two to twenty years in the federal penitentiary.

Vance said Wednesday that the inappropriate behavior allegedly began in Belize on a mission trip in January 2008, when the victim was 14 years old.

Although he was not prosecuted for these events because they took place outside the country, Vance asked the jury to consider them when deciding the length of the sentence.

Upon returning, the defendant asked the victim to go with him to develop pictures from the trip.

Vance said the victim was hesitant to go with the defendant but knew her mother and other family members would know something was wrong if she refused.

The defendant then took her to an apartment where more sexual acts were performed.

The victim's family began to notice she was acting strange and took her to UTMC, where the story was revealed, Vance said.

The defendant will be eligible for parole after 5 years.

Prosecutors were Assistant District Attorneys Vance and Greg Cole and the Defense Attorney was Bill Booth.

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