Nacogdoches woman on trial for letting man have sex with a 13-ye - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches woman on trial for letting man have sex with a 13-year-old girl

Debra Bawcom Choate (Source: Trinity County Jail) Debra Bawcom Choate (Source: Trinity County Jail)

Editor's Note: This story contains graphic sexual content.

Key testimony started Tuesday morning in the Trinity County trial of a Nacogdoches woman accused of several sex crimes against a then-13-year-old girl.

Debra Bawcom Choate was indicted in 2012 for one charge of endangering a child, two charges of sexual performance of a child, and one count of conspiracy of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

The charges stem from two 2011 incidents in which Choate allowed a man she met on a dating site to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Her co-defendant, Scott Frels, is serving two 70-year terms of aggravated sexual assault of a child and a 20-year term for indecency with a child.

Frels was the first key witness on the stand Tuesday. Frels agreed to take the stand if one of the sexual incidents would not be pursued by the District Attorney's Office.

Frels told Trinity County District Attorney Bennie Shiro that he first met Choate on the dating site called Frels said that after talking to Choate for a couple of weeks on the computer, he began to meet her in person. It was at that time that Choate introduced the 13-year-old to Frels.

Frels said that the two had at least 15-20 conversations that were sexual in nature pertaining to the underage girl.

"Debra told [the victim] that she wanted her to be with someone that treated her right and had experience," Frels said. "Debra said she needed someone like me. She would say she wanted her to be with someone who was kind and gentle like me."

Frels said that all three of them would discuss when and where the sexual encounter would happen. Frels said he was told that the 13-year-old girl wanted to have sex on her birthday.

Frels recalled the first time it happened. Frels said that he met Choate and the underage girl at a convenience store at Highway 94 and Loop 287 in Lufkin. Frels continued by saying the 13-year-old girl said she wanted some wine coolers so they went inside and bought some.

Frels then said the three drove to his house in separate cars. Choate dropped off the underage girl with Frels and then left. Frels said they went inside and sat on the couch.

"We first started touching and kissing," Feels said. "We then started foreplay and moved to the bedroom where we had sex."

Frels continued and told prosecutors that after the incident, they called Debra and met up with her at the Olive Garden in Lufkin, where all three had dinner.

Frels said the next incident took place about three days later. Frels said the three of them, along with his son, went to the Steel Horse Bar in Apple Springs.

Frels said that they all were drinking, and he had a lot of alcohol that night. The four of them then went to his house for the night.

"I sat down in my chair," Frels said. "My dog was being really aggressive and loud, so I said I am going to bed. That's when [the victim] said I am going with you."

Frels said that at this point, Choate was passed out on the couch.

"We went to the bed and got undressed," Frels said. "We started touching each other. I tried to penetrate her but was too intoxicated to get aroused."

It was brought up that Frels' son caught the two in bed and reported it to the authorities.

Frels said he was notified by the Texas Rangers the next day and that he needed to go to the sheriff's office.

Frels said Choate was only concerned about one thing.

"She was concerned that I might get in trouble," Frels said.

Frels was then passed to the defense.

The defense argued that Frels is only trying to make himself look good and did not tell the same story today that he told at his trial in March.

The defense attorney said during Tuesday's testimony, Frels changed his story five times.

The defense asked Frels if it was his plan to get all of them drunk at Steel Horse and then have sex with the 13-year-old girl.

"No, it wasn't my plan, but it did happen," Frels said.

Frels added that he is not sexually attracted to Choate or the 13-year-old girl despite having two sexual encounters with her.

After a lunch recess, the state called Amy Donehoe to the stand. Donehoe was the SANE examiner that examined the 13 year old girl at Kalin's Center in Crockett.

"I went through the usual interview," Donehoe said. "She did well."

Donoehoe told defense attorney John Heath that the interviews are done with full supervision from authorities. The interviews are done in a child friendly face.

After Donehoe left the stand, there was a closed discussion to see if the jury would be allowed to hear a tape from an interview between Texas Ranger Steve Rayburn and Choate.

The judge agreed that the tape could be admissible.

In the tape, Choate first tells Rayburn that the night of the steel horse incident, she did drink and was too drunk to remember anything.

"When we got to Scott's house, I fell down," Choate said. "I don't remember that. My daughter had to tell me that."

She told Rayburn that she had 7 beers that night and she allowed the girl to drink three wine coolers and two jello shots.

After giving her initial story that the child was in the room with Frels but they were both clothed and nothing happened, Rayburn asked her to tell the truth because that is not what Frels told her.

She would eventually tell Rayburn in the tape that Frels son came to her and told her that the child and Frels were messing around in the room.

According to Rayburn Frels son told Choate that if she would not put a stop to it that he would.

Choate responded to that by she felt bad because she was in no position to help the child.

Testimony is expected to continue through Thursday. The victim of the incident is expected to take the stand on Wednesday.

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