In a recent opinion from a Texas court involving sexual assault, the defendant’s request for a new verdict was denied. The defendant was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of fourteen. At trial, the plaintiff, a child who was ten years old at the time of the assault, testified about the incident. The trial court found the defendant guilty, and on appeal, he countered that the plaintiff’s testimony was insufficient to prove his guilt. The court disagreed and affirmed his guilty verdict.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the plaintiff is a minor who lived in a two-story apartment with her brother, her mother, and her mother’s boyfriend. In the spring of 2017, her mother’s boyfriend invited his sister and her boyfriend, the defendant, to move into the apartment with them. There were then six people living in the apartment – the kids, their mother, and her boyfriend living upstairs, plus the boyfriend’s sister and the defendant living downstairs.
One evening, when the plaintiff was ten years old, she went downstairs to put a cup away in the kitchen. The defendant suddenly approached her as she was about to leave the kitchen. He dragged her to the floor, pulled her shorts down, and began touching her leg and chest. The defendant penetrated her anus with his penis, assaulting her until the plaintiff’s brother came downstairs. The plaintiff quickly put her clothes back on and at first, no one found out about the incident. It was not until five months later that the defendant reported to her aunt what had happened. An investigation ensued, and the defendant was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of fourteen.
The Court’s Decision
The defendant appealed, arguing that there was not sufficient evidence to prove that he was guilty of sexual assault. According to the defendant, when the plaintiff testified, she presented an irrational scenario without any additional evidence to support her claim. There was nothing besides the plaintiff’s testimony that would prove he was guilty – how could the court, then, convict him when there was so little she brought forward to prove her case?
The court disagreed. It held that the testimony of a child victim, standing on its own, is enough to support a conviction for aggravated sexual assault of a child under fourteen years of age. The child did not need any physical evidence to support her claim. Even though five months passed between the incident and the child’s reporting of the incident, her testimony was believable. In fact, the court said, it is common for victims of sexual assault to not report what happened to them for an extended period of time. Because the court did not require any additional evidence outside of the child’s testimony, the court believed that the sexual assault did in fact occur. The defendant’s appeal was thus denied.
Have You Been Accused of Sexual Assault in Texas?
If you are facing sexual assault charges in Texas, there may be ways for you to more effectively fight your case. At Guest & Gray, we are committed to exploring all aspects of your case and ensuring that your voice is heard in court. You never have to defend yourself alone, and at Guest & Gray, we will stand by you and offer you the best representation possible. For a confidential and personalized consultation, give us a call at 972-564-4644.