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Man sentenced to 65 years for continuous sexual abuse of a child

Thomas Owen
Posted at 12:09 PM, Apr 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-01 13:09:59-04

WACO, Texas — 61-year-old Thomas Owen has been sentenced to 65 years in prison for continuous sexual abuse of a child, the McLennan County District Attorney's Office said in a release on Monday.

Owen has no possibility of parole.

The sentence came on March 28 after jurors in the 54th District Court heard testimony from two child victims related to Owen.

One female victim claimed in her testimony that Owen had been sexually abusing her from ages 7 to 11 and threatened to physically harm her if she spoke out about the abuse.

Another male victim said in his testimony that Owen indecently exposed himself while watching pornography in his presence.

During the trial, jurors learned the female victim reported the sexual abuse in 2015 to a teacher, from which CPS and law enforcement began their investigation. However, due to the victim not disclosing the abuse in a forensic interview, no charges were filed, the DA's office said.

The victim again reported the abuse in 2021, but charges were not filed as investigators could not find evidence they deemed sufficient for a conviction.

In 2022, the female victim was interviewed by investigators in relation to the indecency case involving the male victim—where she again described Owen's abuse years prior.

Investigators with the McLennan County Sheriff's Office obtained cell phone evidence where Owen had texted the female victim to not disclose his abuse. They also obtained additional messages where Owen asked other family members to lie for him.

Using this evidence, McLennan County prosecutors charged Owen.

He was convicted for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child, a first-degree felony, but was acquitted of his Indecency by Exposure charge.

Prosecutors also showed that in 1993, Owen pled guilty and was on probation for a felony Injury to a Child charge.

The DA's office said Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child carries a punishment range of 25 years to life without parole.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Tara Avants and Luke McCowan.

"The jury made our community safer by convicting a man who avoided prosecution for almost a decade by hiding and manipulating the truth. Despite his efforts, the victim’s voice was heard and the truth prevailed," the assistant district attorneys said.