LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Editor's note: The following story contains graphic language.
By Whitney Grunder - email
LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - After about eight hours of deliberations, a jury has found a Diboll man guilty of forcing two young children to watch and imitate pornographic acts.
The same jury will determine punishment for Wesley Don Parish, 52, after another hearing Friday, beginning at 9 a.m.
Parish was indicted in December on charges of making the children he was babysitting perform the pornographic acts.
At the beginning of the day, First Assistant District Attorney Art Bauereiss called Brandon Lovett, an Angelina County deputy, to the stand. Lovett spoke with Parish, and the children's parents about the alleged sexual acts performed on them.
Lovett testified that the parents did not seem intoxicated and seemed angry and distraught when he talked to them.
"The son was very open about the details he had mentioned to me," Lovett said. "The female on the other hand was not…you could tell she was very upset."
The state rested their case just before 9:30 a.m.
Defense attorney Al Charanza approached the jury to begin presenting his case.
"This is our opportunity to give you our side of the story," said Charanza, who first called Michael Gray to the stand.
Gray told the court he sees Parish's two or three times a week. He said he has never seen his uncle using a computer or looking at pornography.
Charanza then asked Gray about Parish's reputation in the community as a babysitter. Gray said he did not know of any other complaints against Parish from other people that used him as a babysitter.
Charanza asked Gray about how well he knew John and Jane Doe. In questioning, Gray described the children as having a reputation for lying.
Bauereiss maintained this information was based on Gray's personal opinion. The state questioned Gray about why he didn't approach authorities about the children being "liars".
"I didn't think it would make a difference…that's what the court of law is for," answered Gray.
"When you say Wesley never had possession of any pornography, is that something you talked about?" asked Bauereiss.
"No, I just never saw him with any," answered Gray.
Bauereiss asked Gray why he never read the details of the case and Gray said he didn't need to, because he already knew the details.
Bauereiss asked Gray to describe any behavior that he had seen with the children. He asked Gray if there were any alarming behaviors observed.
Gray said they messed with each other more than a brother and a sister would. He suggested maybe they had seen too much "sexual" stuff.
Parish's mother was called to the stand. She told Charanza that Parish had lived with her in her Diboll residence for most of his life.
Charanza asked her about Parish's experience in babysitting. She explained he used to babysit for her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
"Have you seen him around John and Jane Doe?" Charanza asked.
"Yes sir ... they seemed to love Wesley," she said.
Charanza asked her about the summer cookout and Parish's interaction with the children. She told him it didn't seem like anything was wrong.
Charanza passed the witness for questioning.
Bauereiss asked her, "You never saw Wesley act inappropriately around children ... correct?"
"Yes sir," she said.
"But you never have seen any one molest a child…but you know it goes on," said Bauereiss.
The defense questioned Parish.
"Do you have an opinion of John and Jane Doe's truthfulness?"
"They never told me a lie," she said.
The defense then called Parish to the stand.
"How would you describe your relationship to Jane and John Doe?" asked Charanza.
"I thought it was pretty good," said Parish.
Parish told the court he took care of the children every couple of weeks. On several occasions, he watched them one on one.
Charanza asked Parish about the children's allegations of locking themselves in the bathroom.
Parish said he heard the kids playing in the bathroom.
"I heard John Doe ask Jane Doe to put his thing in her mouth ... That's when I kicked the door down ... John Doe was pulling his britches up," Parish said.
Parish explained he didn't report the incident because he knows children play. He said he got on them, and explained to them why their behaviors weren't good.
"Have you been able to form an opinion on their truthfulness?" asked Charanza.
"Yes, they could come up with a pretty good lie," answered Parish.
Bauereiss began cross-examining.
"You got along well with these children, they got along well with you," Baureiss said. "They really don't have a motive to make up a story about you, do they?"
"Not that I knew of, but I guess they did," Parish said.
"And you think that motive was to avoid getting in trouble over the peeing incident we talked about?" Bauereiss asked.
"Yes sir," Parish said.
"You claim you overheard John Doe asking Jane Doe to perform oral sex on her," Bauereiss said. "You didn't think that was important enough to tell his father ... or his mother?"
Parish explained he was trying to talk to the children himself.
Bauereiss then discussed the pornographic movie that Parish claims John Doe found in his truck.
"He got mad because I told him he couldn't watch it," said Parish about John Doe's reaction to the porn disc taken from his truck.
"He wanted to watch it at home and I told him no," Parish said.
"So these kids found the movie in your truck, they watched it and then they put it back in your truck?" Bauereiss asked.
"Yes sir," Parish said.
In closing statements, Bauereiss told the jury that Jane and John Doe and their parents trusted Parish.
He reminded the jury how John and Jane Doe in rather plain words had told the jury about the sexual acts they were made to perform on one another.
"Where does a child get that knowledge? It only becomes a part of a child's knowledge through experience. And who did she and her brother say did this? ... that man," said Bauereiss.
Charanza approached the jury, explaining to them that the children were scared of getting in trouble by their father after getting a "whooping" for urinating outside.
"They are getting in trouble ... and pushing it off on Wesley ... unfortunately when kids get in trouble, they start acting out sexually. Wesley caught them in the bathroom, described what he heard and then broke the door down ... he counseled them like any adult would saying this is not what you are supposed to do," said Charanza. "Their little white lies have now gotten us in court."
"Their stories are not matching up. John Doe claimed most incidents happened in the bedroom, Jane Doe said it happened all over the house ... there are inconsistencies ... These kids are scared and just saying whatever they can to get out of trouble," said Charanza. "He didn't watch pornography. He didn't even have a computer. Parish explained the tape left in his truck was for a roommate and he forgot it had been there."
Bauereiss responded, "When he says he's honest ... that's not true. The honest witnesses are John and Jane Doe ... It makes no sense for a child caught peeing in the yard to turn around and say Parish was engaging in oral sex, and then did the same to me ... are there differences in details? Sure ... but something traumatic happened ... memory doesn't work that way ... I beg you to see this through their eyes ... Ladies and gentlemen these children came to you and they told you the truth. His story, on why they would make this up, his story about the DVD is preposterous. I urge you to go back and weigh the credibility ... think about what makes sense here. It's not the defendant, it's these children."