An Angelina County jury found a Newton woman guilty of setting up sexual encounters between her boyfriend and a mentally disabled woman at the man’s Diboll apartment back in 2016.
The jury found Janice Caswell, 63, guilty of two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault of a disabled person. Now, the jury will decide on her sentence.
According to an arrest affidavit, Caswell, 63, helped set up multiple sexual encounters with the girl at William Thomas Walley's apartment. Caswell was arrested in connection to the alleged assaults and charged with sexual assault of a disabled person. She was brought back to Angelina County after she was arrested in Newton.
Caswell wrapped up her testimony Wednesday morning, and the defense rested.
During his closing arguments, John Peralta, a prosecutor with the Angelina County District Attorney’s Office said that victim graduated high school, but with lowest percentile of an IQ. The state quoted the victim's testimony saying the victim didn’t know what medications she takes, she doesn't read correctly, and that while she was having sex with William Walley, Caswell’s co-defendant in the case, that she was scared and nervous.
Al Charanza, Caswell’s defense attorney, argued that Caswell’s family members and friends who have known her for decades vouched for her character. He stated that the victim has limitations because of seizures, but she is not disabled, according state law.
Charanza said using the victim's testimony
Pointing to the victim’s testimony, Charanza said that she was able to buy food, pick out clothes and keep up with basic hygiene, making the point that she doesn’t fall under the state's definition of a person being disabled. Charanza said that Caswell took no part in this and that she walked out during the sexual encounter. He added that she didn’t condone Walley’s actions.
During his rebuttal, Peralta said that the state did provide enough evidence to find a guilty verdict. Referencing the testimony from a Diboll police officer, Peralta said that Caswell said she showed the victim how to perform the sexual acts even though it was Walley who actually engaged in the activates.
At that point, Caswell could be seen shaking her head in disagreement with the points Peralta was making to the jury. Peralta said if the victim is not disabled, then she's defrauding the federal government for the benefits she's receiving for her disability. He said the victim is disabled and that bottom line is that Caswell allowed the Walley to use the victim as a sex toy.
Walley’s sentencing was originally scheduled for Monday. However, the sentencing hearing was postponed after Walley, 56, of Vidor, allegedly used a razor to cut himself on the forearms.
An Angelina County jury found Walley guilty of sexual assault of a disabled person back in August. A pre-sentencing investigation was conducted before Walley's sentencing hearing was scheduled for Monday morning.
When Walley was arrested back in June of 2016, he was charged with first-degree sexual assault of a disabled person.