WEATHERFORD — The girl was 5 when a male relative began sexually abusing her in a “wide variety of ways,” a Parker County prosecutor said Thursday.When the girl was 10, another relative took the girl home with her to treat “the worst case of head lice she’d ever seen,” said Jeff Swain, a Parker County assistant district attorney.While staying with the relative, the girl began exhibiting signs of mental distress that were diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder, Swain said. Investigators learned that her distress came from being sexually abused by Charles Wayne Holbrook, a 34-year-old relative, for the past five years, Swain said.On Thursday, jurors sentenced Holbrook of Azle to the maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for continuous sexual abuse of a young child. He was also convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child, and was sentenced to long prison terms on those charges. “This was the first continuous sexual abuse of a young child case we have tried … since the Legislature created the offense a few years ago,” Swain said in a news release. “It is a very powerful statute because it allows a jury to consider the entirety of the sexual abuse rather than just focusing on a specific act and because sentences for that crime are served without the possibility of parole. That means that this defendant will never be released from prison.”The girl, now 11, testified in front of a room filled with strangers even though Holbrook said he would hurt her if she ever told, said Swain, who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Catania.“Her vivid demonstrations of what he did to her made it crystal clear to everyone watching that this girl was telling the truth,” Swain said.A sexual assault nurse examiner from Cook Children’s Medical Center, an interviewer from the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services and a counselor all testified about what the girl told them about the abuse. A counselor and her fifth-grade teacher testified about some of her behavior, including hiding under a desk, flashbacks, nightmares and attempts at harming herself, Swain said.Jurors watched a videotaped interview between Rob Pawley, a Parker County sheriff’s investigator, and Holbrook in which the defendant said he used methamphetamine regularly.“I’m not going to straight up deny it, but I’m not going to claim it either,” Holbrook told Pawley when asked if he sexually abused the girl.During the sentencing phase of the trial, a man and a woman testified that Holbrook sexually abused them when they were about 10 and Holbrook was about 18, according to Swain’s news release.
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752 Twitter: @mitchmitchel3