NEW BOSTON, Texas: A man whose sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl was stopped because of an ongoing investigation into a child sex trafficking organization was sentenced Thursday to 160 years in prison.
Charles Edward Garton, 40, was found guilty Thursday of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child involving a young girl who came to live in his residence when she had no place else to go. Garton lived for 13 years in a house on Meadow Drive in New Boston with John Littleton. Littleton died before he could be tried on charges of human trafficking and child sexual abuse. An associate of Garton’s and Littleton’s, Kenneth Nelson, received five life sentences last year for human trafficking.
The victim in Garton’s case and her older sister came to live in Littleton’s “house of horrors” after their grandparents were not able to care for them because of poor health. Littleton, a friend of the grandmother, was accused of molesting the victim’s mother-daughter of the victim’s grandmother-beginning when she was 11. A video of Littleton’s sexual abuse of Garton’s victim’s mother was reportedly discovered in Littleton’s home when they searched it in April 2018.
The day of the search, April 24, 2018, Garton was interviewed by members of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigation Division. Garton confessed and provided graphic accounts of what he did to the young girl trapped in a house which investigators said was filthy. Human and animal feces were in the home and undewear soiled and containing human waste hung from a doorknob.
Garton groomed the 12-year-old by paying attention to her, playing games with her, buying her food and clothes and giving her a cell phone. Garton gradually began asking the girl to show him her breasts and when she refused to do more, Garton assaulted the girl in his bedroom.
Garton’s defense attorney, Bart Craytor of Texarkana, argued that the confessions were given under pressure and that his client was actually innocent.
Garton’s jury assessed 80-year prison terms on each of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child which 102nd District Judge Jeff Addison ordered to run consecutively.
“The punishment evidence at trial was that, for over two years, the Texas Department of Public Safety, led by Agent Briscoe Davis, investigated John Littleton, Kenneth Nelson and later, Charles Garton for the continuous and ongoing sexual abuse of children that began over two decades ago,” First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said. “The testimony and evidence presented at this trial was that Garton was complicit to criminal behavior that could only be described as horrific. Even though the men and women on the jury appeared to be greatly affected by the facts they learned about this case, they paid close attention, deliberated on their decision carefully and decided on a fair and just verdict.”