Texas Rape Case: Missing Defendant Found Guilty, Sentenced to 99 Years in Prison

Perhaps some of you remember the story of the 11-year-old in Texas who was lured to an abandoned trailer and raped by 20 young men, multiple times and with objects such as beer bottles, and threatened into performing oral sex for their entertainment. You might remember that the most infamous coverage came from the New York Times because it focused on how horrible it was for the town and the families of the boys that this thing had happened. The girl was at fault for dressing provocatively. The girl was at fault for getting into a boy’s car. The girl’s mother was at fault for not supervising her. The boys, apparently, were the real victims.

Since the original report, it turns out that this was not an isolated incident. The same group of young men repeated this assault on the same girl several times, and some have been found to have done the same to other young girls as well. The juvenile assailants have all managed plea deals of seven years suspended terms, and only two of the adults have pleaded guilty, despite DNA evidence, cellphone videos that the participants shared with friends, and confessions .

Eric McGowen, the first of the 14 adults facing charges, managed to escape the courtroom and disappear during a break in his trial. His defense attorney, Matthew Poston, maintained the plaintiff’s guilt by stating "most unsettling parts of the videos do not contain pictures of McGowen having intercourse with that girl." And reminded the jury that "the truth is not always what it seems." The townsfolk still apparently agree. Caroline King, a neighbor of some of the defendants, said people still "don't know the facts of the case" and said authorities were just "harassing people" by knocking on doors in the town of about 7,700 people as they searched for McGowen."It's not as bad as what they are saying. Nobody tied (the girl) up," said King."

Fortunately, the jury was not quite so sympathetic. McGowen was found guilty and sentenced to 99 years in prison. We can hope that police in Texas are actually looking for him.