Engaging in sexual activity with a minor, whether consensual or otherwise in not OK. Such an act is considered by Texas penal statutes as sexual assault.
Engage in the act with a person under 14 years of age, whether consensual or not, and the offense climbs to aggravated sexual assault of a child.
A San Antonio man got a first-hand look at the inside of a Harker Heights Police Department jail last week when he was arrested on July 23 on a charge of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in the city.
According to a police department news release, officers were dispatched to the 3000 block of Eagle Ridge on July 23 to investigate a report of a suspicious vehicle.
On arrival, police noticed a white pickup parked off the roadway in a cul-de-sac.
On approaching the vehicle, officers observed a nude white male and a female in a short black dress lying side-by-side in the truck, the affidavit said.
Police identified themselves and asked the occupants to get up, they observed the female put on her underwear as she rose, according to the affidavit.
The male occupant identified himself as Joshua White, of San Antonio, in response to police queries.
The female claimed to have no identification. The female initially told officers she was 18 years old, but subsequently admitted to them that her date of birth was in January 2000, making her 15 years of age.
The couple told police they had known one another for several years and had been on an outing with other family members but had separated from family to get ice cream.
According to the affidavit, the female told officers the two engaged in consensual sex while White drove her to the cul-de-sac after getting ice cream.
White was arrested on July 23 and arraigned by justice of the Peace Garland Potvin.
White was transported to the Bell County Jail in Lieu of a $100,000 bond. White will have his day in court to defend his actions.
The excuse that the perpetrator in this case did not know the girl was 15 would be ineffectual in view of the pair being acquainted for some years.
White offered no such excuse but untold numbers of perpetrators of a like crime have.
Anyone of average intelligence knows a 15-year-old is not of legal age simply by conversing with the minor and observing adolescent speech, behavior and mannerisms.
According to Texas law, a minor cannot give consent to engage in sexual activity regardless of the act being consensual, unless the pair are legally married.
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John Vander WERFF is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, with a decade in city and county law enforcement and 20 years with state police.