DA says case backlog keeps Sabine Co. sex assault case from going to trial

Gerald Foster mug shot courtesy of Sabine County Jail.
Gerald Foster mug shot courtesy of Sabine County Jail.
San Augustine and Sabine County District Attorney Kevin Dutton.
San Augustine and Sabine County District Attorney Kevin Dutton.

SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - By Jena Johnson - email

SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - An East Texas family wants answers to why a little girl's aggravated sexual assault case is still open two years after the alleged incident.

Family members, who are asking we protect their identity, want justice for an eight-year-old girl. Until two years ago, relatives claim the child was sexually abused by Gerald Wayne Foster, 47, of San Augustine.

"I hate him with a passion and to be honest if I thought it would do her any good, I'd go find him," said a relative of the girl.

"He told her how to apply the ice to where she could not hurt anymore, so yeah, that just makes your blood pressure want to go up because you don't want someone like that being out and about, I mean I have children," said another relative of the girl.

District Attorney Kevin Dutton prosecutes cases in both San Augustine and Sabine County. Denton took office Jan. 1, 2009. The previous D.A. was John Fisher, who held office for eight years. Dutton said he took on 357 cases the day he stepped into his elected position. Since his time in office, he's closed 234 cases, but Dutton's also made 275 indictments, bringing his current case load to 398 open cases.

Contrary to what the little girl's family believes, Dutton said he's not pushing her case aside. He said he's trying to prioritize each case.

"It tears me up for her to believe that I'm not doing what I can to pursue her case," Dutton said.

"In Sabine County alone I've got 74 cases that pre-date the Foster case. Two of those are aggravated sexual assault cases," said Dutton.

Dutton has an additional 125 open cases in San Augustine County that pre-date Foster's case. He said he's steadily working through each case.

Each day the case remains open, family members say closure seems more unreachable.

"This little girl is scared to go to sleep. If she sees a pick-up that looks like his...she knows that he's up walking around and she sees people going to jail on TV all the time for minor stuff. It's just very unfair," said one of the relatives.

"Do I think about the fact that he's out there walking the street? Yeah I do. If he sees this, he needs to understand his time in court is coming. I'm going to pursue this case," said Dutton.

Dutton said he's hoping to set a trial date for Foster's case around August.

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