UPSHUR COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – A man was sentenced in East Texas to six years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage family member, said the Upshur County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday.
In December of 2021, Billy W. Byrd, the Upshur County District Attorney, was appointed to prosecute a case in the 188th District Court in Gregg County.
The Gregg County District Attorney’s offices recused themselves after the father of the victim made threats to people prosecuting and working on the case, said the Upshur County DA’s office.
Officials reindicted the case and charged Cody Wayne Crutcher with two counts of sexual assault against a family member. The victim was a teenager while the defendant was 20-years-old, said officials.
The offenses happened in the victim’s home outside of Kilgore in July of 2020, said authorities. The DA’s office obtained a life time protective order for the victim after Crutcher’s family reached out to the victim, said officials.
Crutcher pleaded guilty to both charges on Aug. 8, said the DA. Evidence was presented in the court on Tuesday. The state spoke to Deputy James Spencer, the victim, a pre-trial probation officer and the victim’s trauma counselor for the past two years.
In April, the DA’s office served a search warrant to get a cheek swab from Crutcher. Law enforcement wanted to create a DNA profile to compare to evidence they had from a rape kit after the victim made a report in July of 2020, said officials. The DNA report proved Crutcher committed the crime, said the DA’s office.
Crutcher testified in court, and he said he found out his father lived in Kilgore earlier in his life. He was part of the National Guard in Kansas, and he left the state to meet his family in March of 2020, said officials.
Crutcher moved to Texas to live with his family outside of Kilgore, and he admitted to grooming the child victim, said the DA.
He said he was developing feelings for the victim and he began a sexual relationship with her, said officials.
Crutcher had left behind an 18-year-old girl in Kansas, who was pregnant with his baby, according to officials. He also admitted that he knew his choices were wrong, said the DA.
The possible sentence for these crimes was between 5-99 years or life in prison. The court sentenced Crutcher to six years in prison on both counts to be served concurrently, said officials.
Crutcher had been out on bond since July 18, 2020, and he will now be a registered sex offender for life, said authorities.
Officials said the victim has been through a lot.
“She testified to attempts of suicide and that she uses knives to cut herself to relieve the thoughts in her head. She demonstrated great bravery in testifying yesterday in the courtroom,” said the DA.
Last week, a man was also sentenced to 125 years in Upshur County for abusing his biological child, said officials. After that trial many jurors stayed to hug the victim, according to authorities.
“I am thankful this man is in jail and the victim feels she had a voice and her voice was heard. I am also thankful to the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, the Martin House Children’s Advocacy Center who interviewed the child, the medical professionals and most importantly a wonderful trauma counselor that continues to aid and help this victim today,” said the DA.
The DA also thanked the staff at his office.