Monday, December 22, 2008

Austin Scout Leader to Be Sentenced Today for Molestation

There is always a heightened sense of disappointment and sadness in a community when a trusted role model for our children ruins that important relationship. Several Houston teachers have been arrested during this school year on drug charges, including the possession of illegal substances on campus and the intent to sell. Other educators have decided to use a school filled with young students as a personal dating pool, the most recent being a PTA leader on Long Island who was found in a compromising position with a teenage boy in the back of her SUV. Back here in Austin, a Boy Scout leader will be sentenced today after pleading guilty to sexually molesting boys from his troop.

Martin Turner pleaded guilty to two counts of indecency with a child by contact and another count of an attempt of the same crime. The charges stem from Turner's fondling of two brothers between 1999 and 2003. Turner was a trusted family friend and mentor for the boys, which may explain why the acts unfortunately were not reported by the parents until 2006. The contact appeared to have occurred at Turner's home and not during an official scouting event or trip which, of course, does not lessen the legitimate anger felt by parents who trusted this troop leader.

Even though the charges focus on the two brothers, evidence during the sentencing hearing showed that Turner molested six boys over the course of thirty-five years. Despite this long pattern of abuse, District Judge Melissa Goodwin has not decided if prison or probation is more appropriate for the 64-year-old disgraced Scoutmaster. Based on the crimes committed, Turner could face decades behind bars.

As I have shared before on this blog, there are no greater crimes than those inflicted on innocent children. However, no matter the charges, everyone who stands accused is entitled to specific rights. At Bertolino LLP, we have criminal defense attorneys who will fight aggressively for you during your day in court. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today and let's discuss the charges you are facing.

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