NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A few hours after they convicted him for sexual assault Thursday, a Nacogdoches County jury sentenced a former professional masseur to 10 years in prison and then asked the judge to probate his sentence to for sexually assaulting a female client in July of 2016.
The trial for Caleb O'Neal Eaves, 30, is being held in Judge Edwin Klein's 420th Judicial District Court. He was found guilty of second-degree felony sexual assault after the jury re-convened Thursday morning.
The jury deliberated Eaves' innocence or guilt for two hours Wednesday night, and then deliberated for another hour or so Thursday morning after Klein let them go home for the evening. After the jury came back with the guilty verdict, Eaves dropped his head and cried.
Eaves was originally sentenced to 10 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison, but the jury asked the judge to probate his sentence because he didn't have a prior criminal record. As a result, Eaves' sentence was probated to 120 days in jail and eight years of probation.
East Texas News observed law enforcement officers inform Eaves that an arrest warrant for prostitution will be filed on him after he is taken to the county jail.
According to the arrest affidavit, the victim made the initial outcry to the sheriff's office on July 10, 2016. After a report was taken, a SANE exam was conducted on the woman. The exam revealed that she had an injury that was consistent with her claim that she had been sexually assaulted.
When the alleged victim talked to a Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office investigator on July 11, 2016, she told him that after she received a gift certificate for a massage from a friend, she went to Eaves' home in the 200 block of County Road 415 to redeem it.
During the massage, Eaves allegedly removed the woman's underwear and told her to turn over onto her back. Then Eaves began massaging the woman's genital area and sexually assaulted her, the affidavit stated.
In his closing statement, Andrew Jones, a prosecutor with the Nacogdoches County District Attorney's Office, told the jury that Eaves should not be able to go back to his day to day life.
Jones did not believe that probation was fair in this case.
Johnson said his client is sorry and while he is not happy with the verdict he does respect it.
"He did not have to take the stand, but he did," Johnson said. "He thought she consented. He didn't know she was upset but he knows now. "
Seth Johnson, Eaves' defense attorney, also pointed out that Eaves did not use a weapon and he did not use force.
"I beehive this case is more about Eaves hearing what he wanted to hear and not about a malicious attack," Johnson said.
Jones approached the jury one last time.
"He shouldn't get credit for coming up here and testifying," Jones said.
Jones then pointed out all of the issues that she has faced with depression and sucicdal thoughts.
"She just felt like a burden to everyone," Jones said. She lost a long term relationship. She tried to kill her self. Fortunately she is still here. She is the picture of resilience. He continued to live his life while she struggled with if she wanted to live anymore. He lived his life while she tried to take hers."
Eaves took the stand in his own defense Wednesday afternoon.
"I violated morals and guidelines by the state," Eaves said. "I violated my beliefs. I violated my religious beliefs. I violated my marriage vows. ... I am guilty of sexual misconduct but not sexual assault."
Eaves said if he had followed his beliefs, he would have not been in that situation.
"I would have not asked the question, and we would not be here," Eaves said.
Eaves said his license with the state expired last August, and he did not renew.
Eaves said he had remorse.
"I believe I had consent, but that doesn't make it right," Eaves said. "I never meant to hurt anyone."
Eaves said he lied at first to investigators because he did not want to lose his license or his marriage.
Eaves told Johnson that he also explores the idea of a "happy ending" with the victim's friend that was also getting massages from him. Eaves said the friend's responses and body language led him to believe she didn't want it.
Eaves said he did not use any strength to hold down the alleged victim, and it was not his intention.
Eaves told Johnson that if the girl had done anything to indicate she wanted him to stop then he would have stopped.
"I'm not trained in recognizing [PTSR], but in a massage, you want the client to be relaxed and quiet and motionless," Eaves said. "Before the digital penetration, her behavior was what I was expecting and during the penetration, I perceived that I honestly thought I wasn't doing a good job."
Eaves said he quit after a few minutes because his arm was getting tired and he wasn't stimulating her.
"I believe wholeheartedly that I had consent, and she knew what was going on," Eaves said. "There was no doubt in my mind when I asked her 'are you comfortable with me going further,'" and she said, 'If you are' that it was understood."
Eaves said the context of the question was important.
"There was a progression," Eaves said. "I asked several questions throughout."
Eaves said those questions by themselves did not give him consent for sexual contact, but each led to the next.
Eaves said the sexual stimulation might have been just over five minutes. He said after the sexual penetration stopped he continued on her legs then the neck and shoulders.
"As I continued, I told her next time she would need to tell me what she liked," Eaves said. "I needed to know how she wanted to be stimulated. That's when she said next time just stick to the legs."
Eaves said that was the first verbal response she gave, adding her response seemed not that he did anything wrong but just that she did not enjoy the sexual stimulation. Eaves told Johnson when she texted him he still thought that if she came back he would give a massage and just stick to the legs.
Jones asked Eaves if he was running prostitution because he sold a gift certificate to her friend and then was expecting the girl to let him do this. Eaves said he is not sure that's right.
Jones brought up that she was alone, and Eaves didn't think she had to fight him off.
"You said you did this because she was young cute and free and that she lost control," Jones said. "You didn't try that with her friend because she was more strong-willed. You went after her because she was naive."