Warning: This report includes graphic descriptions.
An Aledo man was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison Thursday after a Parker County jury found him guilty Wednesday of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl who was a family member.
Joshua Eric Townley, 45, was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault of a child after the victim, now 15, fought through tears at times as she testified. She told jurors that Townley had started groping her when she was 10 and living in Johnson County and that the abuse became progressively worse over the years, including him making her masturbate him and perform oral sex on him. She said he threatened to harm her, her mother and her brother if she told anyone or refused.
Because Townley had a prior conviction for sexual assault of a child for which he was court-martialed and dismissed from the Navy, he received automatic life sentences in this case. Townley won’t be eligible for parole until 2076.
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“Our law recognizes that repeat sex offenders deserve especially severe sentences,” said Parker County Assistant District Attorney Nikki Rhodes, who tried the case with Jeff Swain.
Swain told jurors that after years of putting up with the abuse, the victim mustered the courage to tell her mother what the defendant was doing to her.
“Then she had the courage to come in here and tell you about it, and you can see how difficult that was for her,” Swain said. “Now, it’s time for you, the jury, to finally give this brave young lady some justice.”
After the mother became aware of the abuse, she went to the Parker County Sheriff’s Department and met with Investigator Josh Pitman. The two called Townley and tried to get a recorded confession without his knowledge. The result was a profanity-laced tirade, with Townley refusing to admit to the crime.
Pitman then called Townley to come in for an interview. About 45 minutes into the hourlong discussion, a video of which the jury watched, Pitman said he didn’t believe Townley was being truthful.
“I feel like you’re holding back … you’re not telling me the complete truth,” Pitman said. “There are two side to every story; I asked you to come in and give me your side of the story and this is your opportunity to tell me what happened.”
Pitman said he believed that Townley had made a mistake.
“You’re right,” Townley admitted. “I’m not going to lie about it.”
Townley then told of what he had done.
“We heard facts in this case that no one should have to hear,” state District Judge Craig Towson said after sentencing Townley. “Karma has no menu; you serve what you deserve.”
Townley, who was also found not guilty of a lesser charge of indecency with a child, still faces aggravated sexual assault of a child charges in Johnson County, where the abuse began.