State drops charges in Huntington man's sex assault case

Christopher Pahal (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Christopher Pahal (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A 20-year-old Huntington man accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl avoided going to trial Monday because the alleged victim asked that the charges be dropped.

As a result, the sexual assault of a child charge against Christopher Allen Pahal was dropped. However, he did plead guilty to an unrelated, separate charge of criminal mischief, and will be serving a 180-day term in the Angelina County Jail.

According to Elmer Beckworth, the prosecuting attorney on the case, the victim in the case didn't want Pahal to have to register as a sex offender or serve a long prison sentence. Beckworth said the girl did not want to put Pahal's family through any more trouble.

"What they told the judge is that they have had relatives who have been in trouble before, he was young and  I think he had a lot of association with other family members and they thought he needed another chance and did not want anything that would ruin his life," said Beckworth.

In a previous story, Huntington Police Chief Bobby Epperly Jr. said his department started investigating the allegation against Pahal in August 2011 after the girl, who was then 15, told authorities that Pahal had forced her to have sex after they had been kissing.

"She said she told him to stop, but he kept going," Epperly said in a previous story. "Whether he forced himself or not doesn't really matter because she's too young to give consent."

The Huntington Police Department obtained an arrest warrant for Pahal in November, and he was booked into the Angelina County the same day. His bond was set at $50,000.

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