By CHRIS AGEE
PALO PINTO – A nine-man, three-woman jury deliberated less than 40 minutes Tuesday before finding Patrick Eugene Leath, 50, of Strawn, guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Palo Pinto County District Judge Jerry Ray sentenced Leath to a 40-year prison sentence and assessed a $2,500 fine.
Ray and the jury heard testimony during the one-day trial, including that of the 12-year-old victim’s adult sister who reported the abuse earlier this year.
She said she contacted authorities after her sister told her about the assault by Leath, her stepfather.
Palo Pinto County sheriff’s deputy Linda Lusk, an investigator in the case, testified she obtained a warrant for Leath’s arrest after interviewing the victim’s sister and watching an interview of the victim conducted by a Child Protective Services forensic interviewer.
Brenda Crawford, a sexual assault nurse examiner at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, told the jury she examined the girl and testified it was her opinion she had been sexually assaulted.
District Attorney Michael Burns said Leath will not be eligible for parole until he serves half of his sentence.
The charge of aggravated assault of a child, a first-degree felony, carries a possible sentence of between five and 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Burns expressed his pleasure with the “community’s continued intolerance of crimes against children and the court’s willingness to assess the punishments appropriate to these serious crimes.”