Second sex assault trial of week begins

Paul Taylor mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Paul Taylor mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following story contains graphic language.

By Morgan Thomas - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Paul Taylor faces four counts of child sexual assault. His family was in the courtroom Wednesday offering support. His younger brother hopes he stays strong.

"This is in God's hands," his brother Patrick Taylor said. "Man will make judgment, but God will have the final word."

Only 12 years old, when the events supposedly happened in 2005 and 2006. The alleged victim was the first to take the stand.

Like most fifth-graders, she enjoyed sleep-overs with her best friend. That friend's mom was dating Taylor, who spent time at the house. The alleged victim claims Taylor would fall asleep in the same bed as she and her friend, watching late-night movies.

Taylor's involvement allegedly grew. In November 2005 - the alleged victim testified of a similar incident. Except this time, Taylor had intercourse with her.

She told the jury: "He asked me not to tell anybody. He said I was really young and it would get him into trouble."

She claims she kept quiet. In February 2006, Taylor allegedly picked her up in his car, and they had sex again.

Taylor's cousin, Jason Brooks refuses to believe this happened.

"I know him as a person," Taylor's cousin, Jason Brooks, said. "I feel like he has good character."

At one point the courtroom became heated when defense attorney John Tunnell aggressively questioned the former detective who investigated the case.

Tunnell wanted to know why more was not done to collect evidence. No sexual assault exam, no phone records obtained. The only interview was with the accuser.

Watching the seriousness is too much for Taylor's brother. He's trying to stay positive.

"When I walked in there we was joking I want to remember him like that," Patrick Taylor said.

For the defense, there's no time to joke, Taylor's future hangs in the balance.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Morgan Thomas provided live updates from Wednesday's proceedings. The following is her account.

The trial of a Lufkin man accused of having sex with a 12-year-old girl began Monday as the alleged victim took the stand as the state's first witness.

Paul Taylor, 40, is charged with four counts of sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14.

In opening arguments, prosecuting attorney Dale Summa laid out the reasons for trial. He said the alleged victim knew Taylor because she spent a lot of time at his house since she and her sister were friends with his daughter. They became friends during the fall of 2005. The alleged victim was in fifth grade at the time. She and her sister spent many nights at Taylor's girlfriend's home since her mother wasn't around a lot.

Taylor became close with the sisters, Summa said. One time they snuck out of the house and drove around with Taylor. In Nov. 2005, Taylor had sex with the alleged victim, Summa said.

It happened again in Feb. 2006, Summa said. Later, texts from Taylor to the alleged victim were found by her sister.  The sister told family and the investigation started, Summa said.

The alleged victim, who took the stand first, testified she would spend the night with her friend, the defendant's daughter, and they would watch movies in bed before bed.  Taylor would sometimes lay down and watch with the girls, sometimes falling asleep with them, the girl said.

The girl said he would also play with the girls, having cake and water fights when a group of children were over at his house.

The alleged victim described the first sexual encounter between her and Taylor. She said they were in her friend's bed.

"We were in (his daughter's) bed and he started talking to me," she said. "I thought he was asleep, but he wasn't. Started kissing me, messing with me."

The girl said he went under her shirt and massaged her breasts and then touched her vagina, then had sex with her. She said it hurt her and she asked him to stop, but he did not immediately stop.

"He asked me not to tell anybody," she said. "He said he would get in trouble. He said I was really young and it would get him into trouble. I said I wouldn't"

The girl said she did not tell anyone after the incident, because she was scared.

After a Feb. 2006 incident, the alleged victim's sister found texts from Taylor. The girl said the texts allegedly said Taylor missed the alleged victim and that he wanted to see and hold her.  The sister told the grandmother and mother about the inappropriate text messages.

The girl said she told them about what was had been happening between she and her friend's father.

The family called the Hudson Police, and were referred to the Angelina County Sheriff's Office, the girl said.

The state then called the alleged victim's sister to the stand.  She said she knew Taylor because she spent time over at her sister's friend's home where he lived. She described how Taylor acted with his daughter's friends, "When a new girl came to the house he would pour water on her."

"She [alleged victim] stayed there almost every weekend,' said the sister.

She said her sister could call Taylor to bring over food, beer, cigarettes.

Defense attorney John Tunnel pointed out that the alleged victim's sister was arrested about a month ago. When the state re-directed Summa made sure it was clear there was no deal for her testimony on her pending charge.

Deputy Shawn Reynolds testified she did not attempt to put the alleged victim through a medical investigation because it was too late to obtain good evidence.  She said it would be "too traumatic".

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