BELTON — The slender 17-year-old girl who claims to have become romantically involved with a Killeen Police Department officer while participating in a KPD youth outreach program took the stand Wednesday.
Dressed in a gray pantsuit and with hair dyed red, the girl told the court she was a 16-year-old participant in the Killeen Police Explorer program when her relationship with the program’s supervisor, Kirt Yarbrough, turned from friendly to sexual.
Yarbrough, 54, has since been fired from the police department and is now facing trial for a charge of sexual assault. He is accused of having sexual relations with the teenager twice while she still was a minor.
It is the policy of the Herald to not identify crime victims or juveniles.
The teenager, now a junior at an area high school, said their relationship started through text messages. She could not remember when it turned romantic, but Yarbrough gradually began to do favors for the girl and would provide her gifts.
He bought an iPhone for the alleged victim and paid for its service, she testified. She would later use the phone to send Yarbrough provocative pictures of herself posing in her mother’s lingerie.
Yarbrough also purchased a laptop computer for the girl that she used to have video chat sessions with the 16-year veteran of KPD.
The gifts made the girl’s mother suspicious, but she insisted Yarbrough was just a nice man who liked to help people.
Their text messages turned into dates. On the stand Wednesday, the teenager recalled Yarbrough taking her to see a Twilight movie in 2011. Though they both walked out of the movie early, she saved the ticket stub as a memento.
In December 2011, Yarbrough took the girl to a Copperas Cove hotel under the guise that the two were going to a Killeen Police Explorer meeting.
Prosecutor Shelley Strimple showed surveillance photos from the hotel of Yarbrough and the girl walking down a hallway. The girl was wearing a Killeen Police Explorer sweatshirt.
She testified she and Yarbrough engaged in sexual acts. They also had another rendezvous at a hotel in Temple the same month, she told the court.
“I felt vulnerable, because he is a police officer,” she told the court.
The girl recounted a past that included sexual abuse at age 10. After the abuse, her grades dropped. She became rebellious and grew to resent her mother, she testified.
She started to cut herself around age 13. It led to multiple stays at a psychiatric hospital, she told the court.
Around age 15, she got into a relationship with another older man, a 24-year-old soldier. When her mother found out, police investigated the man.
The girl told police the man had raped her. But eventually, she told investigators nothing happened between them. The investigation was dropped.
It was one of the many lies she told police.
Galveston attorney Anthony Griffin asked the girl several times about falsified statements she gave to police when investigators became aware of a possible relationship between Yarbrough and her.
She first told police her mother set up the relationship so she could get pregnant and force Yarbrough to pay for child support.
She also made up a story about being pregnant with another officer’s child. She testified that she lied about that in order to make her peers think that she could not be the girl involved in the Yarbrough story they heard about in the media.
She testified that she at first enjoyed the attention, but eventually she said she became disgusted with herself and told the truth.
“I just want this over with,” she told the court.
The girl’s testimony continues today at 9 a.m. in the 426th District Court. Judge Fancy Jezek is presiding.
Contact Philip Jankowski at email@example.com or (254) 501-7553