Man pleads not guilty to sexual abuse of teen co-worker


A Hooks, Texas, man accused of sexual misconduct with a teen girl he met while both worked at Steak ‘n Shake in Texarkana, Texas, pleaded not guilty Tuesday at a hearing in Bowie County.

Joseph William White, 34, became the focus of an investigation by Texarkana, Texas, police in July after the father of a teen girl complained that White was having a sexual relationship with his daughter, according to a probable cause affidavit. Investigators arranged for the 16-year-old girl to be interviewed at the Texarkana Children’s Advocacy Center.

During a meeting July 18 with a forensic interviewer at CAC, the girl said she would give White rides to and from work because he didn’t have a car but denied there had been sexual contact between them. The girl admitted she spent time with White in a Texarkana motel room but claimed they only watched television together.

The girl was shown print outs of text messages downloaded from her cell phone during a second interview July 25 at Children’s Advocacy Center. Messages between the alleged victim and a friend appeared to confirm that sexual activity with White and his teen Steak ‘n Shake co-worker had occurred.

“The suspect’s phone number was saved under ‘BOO,'” the affidavit states. “The messages showed that he asked her to be with him after she became of age and she tells him that it will be a long time. Throughout the messages you can see the gradual grooming from the suspect to the victim to talk her into having sex with him. The texts talk about renting a motel room at Motel 6 but does not give any indication where the sexual intercourse occurred or how many times it occurred.”

During an interview with a Texarkana, Texas, Police Department detective July 25, White allegedly admitted to having sex with the girl three times at his home in the 100 block of Barkman Creek Road in Hooks, Texas. Texarkana, Texas, police gave their investigative file to the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office because the conduct to which White allegedly admitted occurred outside the city limits of Texarkana but within the jurisdiction of Bowie County Sheriff’s Office.

White appeared Tuesday before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart for arraignment on three counts of sexual assault of a child. If found guilty, White faces two to 20 years in prison on each of the three counts. White is currently being held in the Bowie County jail. He is scheduled to appear before Lockhart for a pretrial hearing Feb. 9.

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