Small Town Sexual Assault

by MPNorman on September 6, 2012

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(US criminal law) In 2011, the town of Cleveland, Texas received unwanted attention in the form of a sexual assault scandal.  Law enforcement officers charged 20 males with serious assault crimes, believing that the group repeatedly attacked an 11 year old girl. The official report stated that the men were charged with sexual abuse of a child, which under U.S. criminal law, is a first degree felony. The penalties include 25 years in prison and a possible monetary fine.

At this point, investigators believe that the girl faced sexual assault on five or more different occasions in a small mobile home.  The initial trial is on-going at this point, but one of the males, Eric McGowen, has been sentenced to 99 years in prison for the aggravated sexual assault of a child.  Trial dates have not been set yet for the other defendants, but it is expected to continue shortly after the wrap up of McGowen’s trial.

Sexual Assault Laws in Texas

Sexual assault is a criminal action that may put the accused individual at risk of serious penalties.  The specifics of the alleged crime will determine the penalties that the individual may face, but in general, the consequences include 2-20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

The sexual assault charges (typically a second-degree felony) will be escalated to aggravated sexual assault, a first degree felony, if:

The victim was under the age of 14

A deadly weapon was used

There was more than one aggressor

The victim suffered from bodily harm

“Date rape” drugs were used

The victim was elderly or disabled

This will mean that the possible prison sentence can range from 5-99 years, and typically, defendants will not be eligible for less than 25 years.  In the Cleveland, Texas case, the victim was well below the 14 year mark, so the alleged criminals will likely be facing more severe consequences.

Legal Services

Anyone who has been charged with a crime such as sexual assault will be dealing with potentially serious changes to their personal and professional life.  Thus, it is important to discuss the situation with a qualified criminal attorney in order to determine what type of defense can represent the accused party’s best interests.

Author Bio

Matthew Norman is a full-time blogger interested in various legal topics, but particularly those pertaining to the work of criminal defense attorneys.  He regularly contributes to various criminal defense blogs in order to keep readers informed of current events pertaining to this legal field.




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