Convicted pastor gets ten years in prison - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

FREESTONE COUNTY

Convicted pastor gets ten years in prison

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FREESTONE COUNTY - Fairfield pastor Anthony Lynn Thibodeaux has been given a ten year sentence after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl last year.

Thibodeaux was found guilty of a sexual assault charge and two counts of indecency with a child Friday morning.

A Freestone County jury started deliberations at 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon, but took a break at 8 p.m. later that night. They continued deliberations Friday morning at 10 a.m. and came down with the guilty verdict just after 11 a.m. The punishment phase started 30 minutes after the verdict was given.

The state called on the victim's family members to testify. They described how hard it's been for the family the past year and a half. They also said giving Thibodeaux probation would not be justice.

The defense then called on witnesses who spoke on Thibodeaux's behalf. A couple pastors said how he's helped the community. Alicia Thibodeaux also urged for probation and reaffirmed her belief that her husband is innocent.

"Nobody asked if anybody saw him that night nobody asked if anybody knew where he was," Alicia Thibodeaux said. "Any neighbors, anybody. Was he home or where he was? I just felt they talked to one side."

In closing arguments the defense urged again to give him probation, but the state said that's not justice. District Attorney Chris Martin urged the jury to send a message to people in positions of power and trust that if they do this, they will go to prison.

After just over an hour of deliberations the jury gave Thibodeaux 10 years for the sexual assault charge and four years for each indecency with a child count. The judge said the act is horrendous, but because it was only one occurrence those sentences would run at the same time.

Thibodeaux was then taken into custody to be taken to the Freestone County jail. Church members say their co-pastor will take over on Sunday, and the church will go on.

On Thursday, Anthony Thibodeaux testified on his own behalf denying all the allegations against him. He said he never went to co-defendant Ladonna Brackens' home the night in June, 2012. Brackens is accused of watching while the assault happened.

Thibodeaux did admit to having an affair with Brackens in 2002. However he urged he did not go to her home that night. His wife also testified the same thing saying she was sleeping in the same bed as him. This contradicts with what his accuser is saying.

"I'm telling this jury that she is lying," Thibodeaux said on the stand.

Thibodeaux also said the charges against him have affected his life in many ways. He says church membership has dwindled and he's lost many friends.

"I never thought that the people that you work with that you have assisted for whatever reason say they you raped them," Thibodeaux said.

In closing arguments the defense pointed out discrepancies and witnesses' testimonies. The state, however, addressed those. District Attorney Chris Martin also said this is a case of a person abusing a position of trust.
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