Trial begins for Lufkin man accused of sexually assaulting 2 young girls

Trial begins for Lufkin man accused of sexually assaulting 2 young girls

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The trial of a man accused of sexually assaulting two girls began Tuesday morning.

Brian Garrett, 35, of Lufkin, is being charged with three counts of sexual assault of a child.

According to an arrest affidavit from October 2014, the girls told Harold's House counselors that Garrett had sexually assaulted them on multiple occasions since the beginning of that year.

Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches said Garrett came to the sheriff's office with a lawyer to turn himself in.

Prosecuting attorney John Peralta asked former Harold's House employee Candy Hartman to describe the interviews she had with the two victims.

Hartman said when she interviewed children at Harold's House they would use anatomical drawings.

Hartman said the victim identified as Jane Doe did not hold back emotions.

"She was angry," Hartman said. "She was frustrated."

Hartman said she went into the hall to take a break and heard Jane Doe saying she did not know what to do. Hartman told the jury that it was not uncommon for victims to not be ready to open up on the first interview.

Hartman said a second set of interviews was done for both girls after Child Protective Services brought them back.

"This time when Jane Doe came in, she was very excited," Hartman said. "She said she wanted to go to the judge and tell everyone what happened."

Hartman said Jane Doe was able to describe what Garrett made her do when he sexually assaulted her.

"She said it was horrible," Hartman said.

Hartman said Mary Joe told her the first time she interviewed she did not tell the truth.

"She was afraid that [Garrett] would get a hold of the recorded interview," Hartman said.

Hartman said Mary Doe told her the assaults happened over a two-year period.

"She was scared," Hartman said. "She was embarrassed. She covered her face. She kept blaming herself. She cried."

Hartman said the interviews were conducted in March of 2014 and the last time he assaulted the victims was either in January or February of that year.

Defense attorney John Tunnell then questioned Hartman. Hartman told him they interviewed Jane Doe and Mary Doe at two separate times because it would allow them to be truthful with their answers.

Hartman told Tunnell Jane Doe referred to Garrett as a child molester.

Later, the former Harold's House interviewer told Tunnell that Mary Doe did deny accusations of sexual contact between her and Garrett during the first interview.

"She denied it, but she hesitated," Hartman said.

Hartman told Tunnell that when she went back in and told Mary Doe that she was welcome to leave and come back later was a normal way of doing things at the child advocacy center.

"That is pretty standard for us to do that," Hartman said. "We say this whenever someone is hesitant to open up. There was more in the room than her just saying ,'no'. There was her demeanor and other things."

Hartman said she was unaware of how many conversations that CPS workers had with Mary Doe.

Hartman told Peralta the two victims were not allowed to watch by video or live what the other said.

"They knew CPS was in the next room," Hartman said.

"We give the opportunity to the child to have a say in a room where no one else is," Hartman said.

SANE nurse Norma Sanford then took the stand. Sanford told the court in her 25 years she has performed over 300 sexual assault exams on children. Sanford said she performed the exams for both victims.

"We bring them in for a forensic interview most of the time and then do a sane exam if an outcry is made," Sanford said.

Sanford said she tried to set up a relationship status with the victim before doing a physical exam, adding that this will make the process run smoother.
Sanford said she examined both girls on March 4, 2014. She said there was no major trauma to Jane Doe's reproductive areas.

Sanford did say while she was giving the exam, Jane Doe said she was forced to perform oral sex.

Sanford then said Mary Doe said she did appear to have had sex with someone. Sanford told Tunnell that it was too far past the window to collect a semen sample from the victim.

Detective Patrick Nichols said he was the lead investigator on the case. Nichols said when he entered the home of Garrett he noticed a bottle of lube on the bed side table.

"When I saw that I thought I had what I needed based off of the statements by the victims about lubricant being used," Nichols said.

Nichols said he was not there to look for evidence and that he only made the observation because he saw it while looking for Garrett.

"I did not have consent to search for anything other than Garrett," Nichols said. "I just saw it while looking."

Witness Anne Doe, another of Garrett's alleged victims who came forward after Garrett was charged, took the stand to talk about her interactions with the defendant. Anne Doe said Garrett was with them when she was taken to the mall when she was 12 to get clothes for school.

"He started to get me to try on lingerie," she said. "It was very provocative."

Anne Doe said he was over-provocative.

"He would hug me and rub on me when he would tell me good bye," Anne Doe said.

The girl testified that Garrett kissed her and told her that he was sexually aroused.

Anne Doe told the jurors about how Garrett held her on his lap and was inappropriate.

"He told me it was okay, but I tried to pull away and said i want to go home," Anne Doe said.

Anne Doe told Tunnell that she came forward to law enforcement after Garrett was charged with this case.

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