A 17-year-old accused of sexually abusing an 8-year-old allegedly made the girl “pinky swear” that she wouldn’t tell.
J’Rome Shephard was indicted last week for aggravated sexual assault of a child by a Bowie County grand jury. The offense is punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Shephard, who lives in Karnack, Texas, was staying with the girl’s family in Bowie County during a weekend visit in May. The young girl’s mother told investigators with the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office that she began questioning her daughter after noticing she was “acting differently.”
The girl reportedly alleged that Shephard, who the child refers to as “Bone,” made her perform a sex act on him several times and that he attempted to assault her sexually in other ways as well. The girl allegedly claimed Shephard made her “pinky swear” that she wouldn’t tell about the abuse and that he told her she would be in trouble if anyone learned of it.
A pillow case from the girl’s home was collected as evidence in the case based on statements made by the child May 25 during a forensic interview at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Texarkana.
Shephard will turn 18 in December. In Texas, individuals 17 and above are handled in the adult criminal justice system. Shephard is scheduled to appear before 202nd District Judge Leon Pesek, Jr., later this month.