Witness at trial for former Lufkin charter school: Victim was groomed

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - During the second day of the jury trial for a former Lufkin charter school counselor facing charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency, one of the state's witnesses said, in her experience, it looked as though John Wesley Carter had groomed the victim to keep the information about the alleged sexual assault to herself.

Carter 47, of Huntington, has pleaded not guilty to both felony charges.

Carter was arrested in November 2013 after an investigation into inappropriate conversations he was having with a girl under the age of 10 at Pineywoods Community Academy. The girl's parents had planted a recorder on the child and recorded a conversation between Carter and the girl. They then turned that into Lufkin police.

When police were investigating that allegation, Carter gave them permission to search his house. Police found evidence that Carter had tried to look up child pornography websites.

Carter pleaded guilty to the charge in February 2015, accepting a five-year probation sentence.

Carter was arrested again in April 2016, after a then 13-year-old student made an outcry to a teacher.

A Harold's House employee who testified showed the jury a video interview when the victim answered questions after making the outcry in March 2016. The witness said the victim told her that something happened when she was 10 years old, referring to the allegations that Carter held her legs and touched her inappropriately. The witness said, from her experience, the victim was being groomed to keep the information about the alleged sexual assault to herself and not tell her mother.

A forensic nurse told the jury that she did not find any injury on the victim, but said that in an instance such as this, it is very common with children to delay reporting the incident to authorities. She said, from her observation, the victim was speaking very softly and often looked down during the examination.

An investigator with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office told the jury that her investigation led her to believe that the victim and Carter's stories corroborated. She said that it was unusual that Carter used the word affection at one point during the interview to refer to the victim.

The victim gave a two hour testimony on Tuesday. The now 15-year-old victim was seen crying and often looking down during the questions about the sexual acts. She told the jury what unfolded back when she was 10 years old. The victim said that Carter drove her to a deer lease stand on his property. She said when she wanted to drive the 4- wheeler, he told her he, Cater, owes him a favor. The victim said the favors doubled when she wanted to go riding again. She continued telling the jury that it was at the deer stand that Carter was caressing her and touching her places she felt uncomfortable.

When the prosecutor asked the victim why she didn't tell her mother, the victim said she debated it was a good idea to tell her mother, but she was too afraid saying "Mr. Carter would hate me."

Defense cross-examined the victim asking her detailed questions to discredit the testimony and paint what they claim was a deeper relationship that Carter and the victim shared dating back to when she was child in the 1st grade.

The state rested presenting further evidence.

Copyright 2018 KTRE. All rights reserved.