An appellate court affirmed the continuous sexual abuse of a young child conviction and 37-year prison sentence a Parker County jury assessed to a Springtown man in a trial last April.
Jamie Lee Ford, 30, was convicted of sexually assaulting and fondling a young girl from ages 5 to 9 in Parker and Tarrant Counties. During the trial, the victim, who was 10-years-old when she testified, provided numerous details of the sexual abuse that she suffered at the Defendant’s hands.
On appeal, he contended that testimony from a nurse and a neighbor was wrongfully admitted during his trial.
The nurse told jurors what the girl said Ford did to her. She then said that, while her physical examination of the child was normal, according to studies, 85-90 percent of children documented to have been sexually penetrated still have a normal physical examination.
The neighbor, who was the first adult the girl told about the abuse, told the jury that the victim was a “stand-up little girl” who would “fess up” if she was doing something wrong. He said that he was reluctant to believe that Ford would molest a child, but given the nature of the victim’s outcry, he believed her.
The Second Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that neither witness’s testimony was improper bolstering of the child’s description of events and concluded that “there was no error in the trial court’s judgment.”
“The victim was a very brave young girl,” said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain, who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Catania. “She got up the courage to tell her friend what had been happening to her, then tell the friend’s parents, and finally our jury. Her vivid descriptions of things that no 10-year-old girl should know, things that only someone who had either been in an adult sexual relationship or sexually abused would know, gave her testimony tremendous credibility.”
District Attorney Don Schnebly said since there is no parole allowed for this kind of offense, Ford will not be released from prison until 2049.
“We appreciate the jury’s work on this case and the strong message that they sent on behalf of our community,” he said.
Assistant District Attorney Eddy Lewallen, who handled the appeal for the prosecution, said the defendant can still appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
“However, that court only hears death penalty cases and other cases that it decides have interesting or novel legal issues at stake,” he added. “I am doubtful that this case presents anything that they would choose to hear.”
The case was tried in the 43rd District Court, Judge Craig Towson presiding.