FROM STAFF REPORTS
JOHNSON CITY — A Blanco County jury handed down seven 25-year sentences to a 77-year-old man convicted of abusing a mentally challenged woman who had lived with him for almost her entire life, according to the 33rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
The same jury convicted Eugene Barrett of Johnson City on continuous sexual assault of a young child and six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a disabled individual. According to the district attorney’s office, the charges stemmed from offenses committed between 2007 and 2010 involving numerous acts of sexual abuse.
Assistant District Attorney Stacy Burke and District Attorney Sonny McAfee presented evidence during the trial in the Blanco County Courthouse that showed the mentally challenged female victim, now 18, had lived with Barrett most of her life. The district attorney’s office also presented evidence that the sexual abuse began sometime in the early 2000s.
District Judge Allan Garrett presided over the trial.
Under state law, Barrett must serve 50 years of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
Burke said Barrett was a true predator, who chose to prey on someone who was unable to defend herself.
She also commended the jury for handling the difficult task of hearing the evidence in the case.
McAfee added his own praise for the jury, noting the members carefully followed the evidence and determined the offense was continuous sexual abuse as well as finding the additional offenses of sexual abuse of a disabled person also had occurred.
This is the first time a case of continuing sexual abuse of a child had been tried in the 33rd/424th Judicial District, according to McAfee.
The offense became a law in 2007 and was designed to prosecute repeat offenders, whether the same victim is sexually assaulted or a different victim is involved in a continuing scheme of abuse, according to the district attorney.