A woman who got free methamphetamine in exchange for providing a drug dealer with a 12-year-old girl whom he repeatedly sexually assaulted was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison.
On Wednesday, a jury convicted Leticia, 33, of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14.
She elected to have state District Judge Scott Wisch assess her sentence, which he did on Thursday. She is not eligible for parole, according to the 2007 statute under which she was sentenced. She will get credit for two years served in jail before her trial, a Tarrant County prosecutor said.
The Star-Telegram is using only the defendant’s first name to avoid identifying the girl because the newspaper generally does not identify sexual assault victims.
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Leticia shook and cried in her chair after her sentence was read. The girl, now 14, looked down at the floor and wept, too.
Thomas Crick, the drug dealer who sexually assaulted the girl, was sentenced in September to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to trafficking of a child/engaging in sexual conduct. Crick, 31, of Fort Worth, is eligible for parole but will have to serve half his sentence first, according to prosecutors.
“The disparity is shocking,” said Wes Ball, Leticia’s attorney. “Crick can walk out of prison in 15 years. He was on parole and on a monitor when he committed this offense. Leticia will have to spend 10 more years in prison than Crick at best. That’s what the [Texas] Legislature has done with this law.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had a sadder case than this one.”
Crick, who told the girl and her family that he was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, had sex with the girl for almost four months beginning in September 2012. Crick sent the girl home with free meth for Leticia in exchange for her blindness to what was happening to the girl, prosecutors said.
In passing sentence, Wisch said that Crick accepted a plea bargain that so the girl would not have to testify and indicated that he accepted some responsibility. Leticia, however, elected to go to trial, forcing the girl to walk into a crowded courtroom and divulge the sordid story to strangers, Wisch said.
Electing to go to trial was well within Leticia’s rights, he said, and it was well within the court’s purview to weigh that factor when calculating a sentence.
“Using the word sad to describe your client’s life is a gross understatement,” Wisch said to Ball. “Your client is repugnant far past the standards that the public is willing to accept. The court is aware of the law, which means there are 28 years to go.”
Leticia bears the greater moral responsibility for what happened to the girl she handed over to a convicted felon, drug dealer and practicing gang member, said prosecutor Eric Nickols. And it is “highly unlikely,” given the facts of the case, that Crick will be released after his first or even after several subsequent parole hearings, Nickols said.
“There has been a lot of talk about Thomas Crick and the terrible things he did,” Nickols said. “But if not for Leticia’s conduct, none of us would have had to be here.”
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752