A Cass County jury sentenced a Naples, Texas man to life in prison without parole last Thursday afternoon after finding him guilty that morning of the continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 years of age.
Jurors in the 5th Judicial District Court deliberated about an hour Thursday morning before finding James Robert Reynolds guilty of committing two or more acts of sexual abuse against a child under 14 years of age two or more times during a time period that was 30 or more days in duration between June 1, 2009 and September 1, 2012.
The victim testified that when she was around six or seven years old she would frequently visit a man she referred to as “Pawpaw” (James Reynolds) with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. She thought of Reynolds as a grandfather-type figure. Reynolds would often ask the child to come sit in his lap. Over time, the child testified, Reynolds began rubbing on her legs and up under her shorts. Eventually, the touching escalated until Reynolds was sexually assaulting her any time people left the room. She recalled that Reynolds assaulted her at least 10 times, and that every time it occurred either at his house in Cass County, Texas or at her house in Morris County, Texas.
Forensic interviewers and a therapist from the Texarkana Children’s Advocacy Center testified about the initial outcry that was made, and about the effects that the sexual abuse has had on the child over the years. The jury was allowed to see the one-and-a-half-hour interview from the Children’s Advocacy Center that was given back in 2017 and compare that initial outcry to the testimony that was given in court.
Jurors also heard from additional victims, who testified that they too had been sexually assaulted by James Robert Reynolds. One victim testified that she was sexually assaulted by Reynolds at least three times when she was five- or six-years old back in 1983-1984. Another victim testified that she was sexually assaulted by Reynolds continuously from the time she was in elementary school until she outcried at 14 years of age.
The jurors learned that Reynolds was convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in 1997 and sentenced to 10 years in TDC for that victim.
Continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 years of age carries a punishment range of 25 years to 99 years or life in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and there is no possibility of parole for any sentence imposed for the offense under Texas law. After hearing additional evidence, it took the jurors just under 10 minutes to sentence Reynolds to a term of life in prison without parole.
At trial, James Robert Reynolds was represented by Mt. Pleasant attorneys Mark Lesher and Laura McCoy. Cass County Criminal District Attorney Courtney Shelton and Assistant District Attorney Nick Ross handled the prosecution for the State of Texas.
“I have no doubt that there are other victims out there who have been affected by the heinous acts of this man,” said Criminal District Attorney Courtney Shelton. “The victims who testified at trial showed courage, and because of their courage, this man will never be able to hurt another child again. We are so grateful to all the law enforcement officers that worked on this case, the Children’s Advocacy Center, and especially the jury, who gave the victim her voice and showed Cass County that we will not tolerate sex offenders in our county.”