Polk Co. grand jury indicts former cop accused of sexually assaulting 2 women

Polk Co. grand jury indicts former cop accused of sexually assaulting 2 women
Walter Howell Jr. (Source: Polk County Jail)
Walter Howell Jr. (Source: Polk County Jail)

A Polk County jury has indicted the former Sweeney ISD police officer accused of sexually assaulting two women and endangering a child.

According to court documents East Texas News obtained Monday, Mark Shawn Hamilton, 51, was indicted on four felony sexual assault charges and a felony child endangerment charge.

Hamilton is still being held in the Polk County Jail on the original five felony charges. In addition, a felony aggravated sexual assault charge was added on Nov. 20. Collectively, his bail amount was set at $1.15 million.

According to arrest affidavits KTRE obtained through an open records request, two women came to the Polk County Sheriff's Office on Sept. 8 and 9 and alleged Hamilton sexually assaulted them separately on a consistent basis beginning in 2005.

Both women explained how Hamilton would restrain the women with belts and neck ties and would use "common police tactics" and his gun to subdue and control the women.

Both women also said Hamilton threatened them with physical harm and described how nobody would believe them if they made an outcry because he was a police officer.

According to an affidavit, one of the women was able to provide video proof of Hamilton beating her with a boot, while she held her one-year-old child. This was how Hamilton was charged with endangering a child.

Hamilton's next court date is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 2.

The Polk County grand jury also indicted Walter Earl Howell Jr., 34 in connection to allegations that he sexually assaulted a now-12-year-old girl over the course of a three-year period. He was indicted on a felony aggravated sexual assault of a child charge.

Howell is still being held in the Polk County jail on the aggravated sexual assault charge and a bond surrender charge. Collectively, his bail amount has been set at $120,000.

According to the arrest affidavit, the initial outcry was made to Polk County Sheriff's Office investigators on Oct. 4. The girl told authorities that Howell had sexually molested her numerous times over a three-year period, with the last time being on Sept. 26, the affidavit stated.

Two days before the outcry was made, Howell allegedly told the 12-year-old girl's mother that he had been having sex with her daughter.

The girl went to Childrenz Haven for a forensic interview on Oct. 7. During the interview, the alleged victim said that Howell had sexually assaulted her and that the last time had been on Sept. 26.

A SANE exam was performed at a Livingston hospital, and the test revealed that the girl had injuries that were consistent with sexual assault.

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