Two Young County men recently pled guilty in district court to a total of three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, marking a successful week for prosecutors in the 90th district but also shining light on an ongoing problem in the area.
On Tuesday, May 6, Jay Dirk Dunlap, of Graham, pled guilty and was sentenced to 33 years imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Three days later on May 9, Olney man Jonathan Michael Phillips pled guilty to continuous sexual abuse of a child and aggravated sexual assault of a child moments before jury selection was scheduled to begin, according to a press release issued by District Attorney Dee Peavy.
Phillips was sentenced to 30 and 35 years imprisonment respectively for the two charges, and will not be eligible for parole until he serves all of the 30 year sentence for the continuous sexual abuse conviction, the press release stated.
Since Peavy took office in 2012, most of the cases she has brought to trial in the 90th district, which encompasses Young and Stephens Counties, have involved allegations of sexual abuse of children, including the case of State v. Maxwell, in which the Defendant received two life sentences cumulated (stacked), and State v. Pair, in which the defendant received two life sentences to run concurrently. Both cases were tried in Young County.
Peavy said that at this time, she is preparing for another trial in Stephens County on three charges of first degree aggravated sexual assault of a child and one charge of second degree sexual assault of a child. In the press release, Peavy also credited area law enforcement, as well as local child advocacy center Virginia’s House, as being integral to the successful prosecution of child sexual abuse cases.
“The District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement are involved in these types of cases from initial investigation through trial, but the team at Virginia’s House is instrumental in helping our victims during the entire process, which can be quite lengthy,” Peavy said.
Read the entire story in this weekend's Graham Leader.