A former Lacy Lakeview woman who participated in the three-year sexual abuse of two young girls, including one who had a baby as a result of the abuse, was sentenced to 40 years in prison Monday.
In exchange for her guilty pleas, prosecutors dismissed one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, a charge that carries a minimum of 25 years in prison up to a maximum sentence of life with no parole.
Judge Ralph Strother of Waco’s 19th State District Court sentenced Knox to 40 years in prison on the two aggravated charges and 20 years each on the remaining eight counts. Knox will serve the sentences concurrently and will have to serve at least 20 years before she can be considered for parole.
Knox initially agreed to the plea bargain, but balked Monday when it came time for her hearing. She later changed her mind again, ultimately accepting the plea offer.
The two girls, family members of Knox, cried during victim-impact statements Monday after Knox was sentenced. Despite the abuse, the girls said they love her. The older one, who is now 15, told Knox she is going to be a good mother to the child she had in May 2015 as a result of the sexual abuse.
Knox’s attorney, Jack Hurley, declined comment after the hearing.
Knox and her common-law husband, Terry Wayne Harrison, 55, were arrested last year after the older girl’s pregnancy sparked investigations by police and Child Protective Services.
They both are alleged to have sexually abused the girls at a home in Lacy Lakeview from November 2012 to 2015 beginning when the girls were 11 and 12 years old.
Investigators say Harrison fathered the child and alleged that Knox not only was aware of and condoned the abuse but participated in the sexual assaults.
Harrison remains in the McLennan County Jail. His charges are pending and no trial date is set, court officials said Monday.
SAN ANTONIO- A Bexar County man is arrested for continuous sexual assault of children, all while working for a children's care center.
The arrest affidavit stated Robert Browning, 30, committed the abuse while baby-sitting the children over several years.
The affidavit said he was working for the children's non-profit Boysville raising concerns over his access to children.
The director of human resources for Boysville said:
"We do know that the alleged abuse occurred prior to his employment with Boysville," said Tasha Wilson. "And did not involve any of the children placed in our care. When we became aware of these allegations, we worked closely with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to ensure the safety of all of our children on campus."
She continued, "Robert Browning was employed in a non-direct care position and did not have unsupervised or regular contact with any of our children. Due to the recent arrest, we have taken an overabundance of caution to protect the safety of our children and uphold our compliance with licensing and accreditation standards and he is no longer employed with Boysville in any capacity."
He was no longer employed by them, and the abuse did not involve any of the children in their care.
"A lot of parents particularly moms are so desperate they need to go to work," said Fletcher. "They need a break, they leave their child with someone very inappropriate and they don't know very well who turns out to be very dangerous."
She said it takes the entire community to prevent this abuse, but if it does occur there are resources available to help like the Hope Center and Clarity.
"Just consider it everybody's responsibility," she said.
A 75-year-old woman was arrested Friday in Chambers County on multiple charges related to the sexual abuse of a child.
Hazel Scott, of Lanett, faces charges of conspiracy to commit sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old, conspiracy to commit rape and second degree child endangerment.
According to court documents, the arrests came after a grand jury indictment, which accuses her of not reporting the abuse and preventing the victim from reporting it.
Lanett Police Chief Angie Spates said the arrest is related to an arrest Sept. 1 of Robert Scott, 56, of Lanett, on similar charges.
"Investigators worked a sexual assault case involving a juvenile victim," Spates said in a statement. "The case was presented to the grand jury and Hazel Scott was indicted based on evidence and testimony given at grand jury."
Hazel Scott's bond was set at $100,000, according to court documents.
Two Lancaster County men convicted of child sex crimes were resentenced last week.
The resentencings come after a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling upheld the state Superior Court's decision to invalidate mandatory minimum sentences in child sex abuse cases.
Thomas Earl Becker, 58, of Denver, had his 32½-to-66-year sentence for sexually abusing three preteen girls from 2008 t0 2010 reduced by four years Thursday.
On Friday, Daniel C. Work, 36, of Manheim Township, had the mandatory minimum guidelines stripped from his 10-to-20-year sentence for abusing a preteen boy in 2005.
President Judge Dennis Reinaker presided over both resentencing hearings.
The two hearings come on the heels of the resentencing of Matthew B. Wolfe.
Wolfe, 22, was sentenced in October 2013 to 10 to 20 years on charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors. His sentence included a mandatory minimum of 10 years for the involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charges.
Wolfe appealed his case to the state Superior Court, which vacated the sentence based on its use of mandatory minimum sentencing terms, calling it “unconstitutional” in December 2014. The state Supreme Court affirmed the decision in June.
On Wednesday, Wolfe was resentenced to 6½ to 13 years.
Judge Joseph Madenspacher handled both sentences in the Wolfe case.
From News Journal staff
A man charged with molesting two children and recording them while they showered is facing up to life in prison, according to a news release from the State Attorney's Office.
On Friday, an Escambia County jury found Gregory McLean, 34, guilty of one count of lewd or lascivious molestation (victim less than 12 years of age, offender over 18 years of age) and one count of lewd or lascivious molestation (victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age, offender over 18 years of age).
In January 2016, McLean's cell phone was located in a bathroom set to video record one of the victims getting into the shower, the release said. After the discovery of the cell phone, both of the victims revealed that the defendant had molested them when they were younger. One victim was between the ages of 9 and 10 years of age at the time of the molestation, and the other victim was between the ages of 12 and 13 years of age.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 8 in front of Circuit Judge John L. Miller.McLean faces a minimum of 25 years in prison with lifetime sexual offender probation, up to a maximum penalty of life in prison. McLean also will be designated a sexual predator.
The case was investigated by Deputy Shaun White with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Cassandra Andres.