LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Editor's note: The following story contains graphic language.
An Angelina County jury found a Hudson man guilty of sexual assault of a child Wednesday afternoon. In addition, the jury found Kevin Gregory Kathrine, 38, not guilty of a secondary charge, indecency with a child.
Testimony in Kathrine's trial began Wednesday morning in connection to allegations that he molested a 10-year-old girl. The punishment phase of the trial will be held tomorrow in the 159th District Court.
According to Hudson Police, on March 7, the victim told her mother she did not like the alleged suspect because he touched her. The mother then called police to report the incident.
Hudson police officer Joseph Burton said the child identified the suspect as Kevin Gregory Kathrine, of Hudson. The girl stated in a forensic interview, Kathrine inappropriately touched her several times between the late summer and early fall of 2009 and again in May of 2011.
Burton said during an interview with Kathrine, the suspect stated that he did not intentionally hurt the girl, but he may have unintentionally hurt her.
On March 19, he was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first degree felony.
The victim was nervous as she stood before an Angelina County jury and told them how a Hudson man molested her. Wednesday afternoon, that same jury found Kathrine guilty of sexual assaulting her.
The victim's parents run a trailer park in Angelina County and hired Kathrine to do maintenance when he got behind on rent.
In her testimony the victim's mother said, "We were trying to do the right, Christian thing for someone who needed help."
Heather Kartye, the director of the Family Crisis Center, said, unfortunately, this happens too often.
"Those who have been victims of sexual violence do know their perpetrator and that can create a difficult situation for them coming forward," Kartye said.
The victim didn't tell her mother that Kathrine touched her inappropriately until nearly two years after the first incident. When the panicked mother questioned her daughter, the child told her about two different times that he touched her.
The victim recalled that it happened during a piggy back ride. Earlier, the victim's best friend told the court how Kathrine turned a childhood game into a terrifying memory, saying, "She just kept saying put me down. Put me down."
The same day Kathrine was found guilty of sexual assault, a local organization was taking a stand against the crime. The Sexual Assault Violence Education (S.A.V.E.) Coalition held its first meeting Wednesday, and members brainstormed on ways to protect victims.
Michelle Green, the executive director of Junior Achievement, said their focus is on "communication, community awareness, education, prevention, and just how we can come together to help these victims."
S.A.V.E. organizers say perpetrators will always be out there looking and waiting, so parents must stay alert at all times. Kartye said parents should "be aware of who they're with, who they're spending time with." They should also be involved and engaged in their children's lives, she said.
Editor's note: KTRE Multimedia Journalist Francesca Washington sat in on Kathrine's jury trial Wednesday, and the following is what she reported as the trial proceeded.
Kathrine pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual assault of a child and one charge of indecency with a child.
In the opening statement, Dale Summa, the prosecuting attorney, told the jury the child's family runs a trailer park in the Hudson area, and that Kathrine worked as a custodian there.
The child's grandmother claimed she noticed Kathrine hanging around younger children while he was working there. She came home one night to find Kathrine in bed, clothed, with her two grandchildren.
In March of 2012, two years after the inappropriate contact, the child told her mother that Kathrine had touched her.
The girl's mother was the first to take the stand. She told jurors that Kathrine came from New Mexico to live with her in-laws in 2009. He bought another trailer on the property, fixed it up, and moved in a few months later.
"Me and my husband basically felt bad for him ... he had gotten about eight months behind on rent," the child's mother said. "We made him an offer to be our maintenance man, so he wouldn't have to pay rent."
Latter, the victim's mother said that she and her husband were "trying to do the right, Christian thing for someone who needed help."
During her testimony, the child's mother said she and her sister were driving the child to an allergy specialist in Tyler, and that they were talking about things that happened to them in their past and thought the girl was sleeping.
The woman said that during a pit stop, her daughter told her that she didn't like Kathrine because he touched her. When the panicked mother questioned her daughter for details, the child told her mother about two different times that Kathrine touched her.
The first time, the child was at her grandparents' trailer on a day that Kathrine was painting with them. The woman testified that her daughter was lying on a bunk bed when she woke up to Kathrine pulling her pants down and looking at her privates.
The second time was when the family was moving her sister-in-law's trailer. The child's mother said they were gathering wood, and her daughter and her best friend were playing outside. The woman told the jury that Katherine started giving the girls piggy-back rides. She said her daughter wanted to be put down, but he wouldn't put her down and stuck his hands down her pants.
"She hollered put me down put me down and he wouldn't put her down," the child's mother said.
The child's mother said she told her husband when he got home and talked to the girls before she called the police and filed the report.
Later during the testimony phase of the trail, the victim's 10-year-old friend took the stand. She said she and the victim were playing in the yard when Kathrine pushed past her and picked her friend up off the ground.
"She just kept saying, 'Put me down. Put me down,'" the friend said.
In addition, the friend told jurors that Kathrine looked through a window of her trailer while the girls were changing into their pajamas during a sleep over.
During her testimony, the victim explained how Kathrine touched her inappropriately. Using a toy doll, she showed jurors where the man touched her.
The victim said that the second time Kathrine touched her inappropriately, was during a piggy back ride and said that it hurt that time. According to the victim, Kathrine also kissed a Barbie doll's breasts in front of her while she was in her friend's backyard.