The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

January 29, 2014

Man pleads guilty to sexual assault of a child

Staff Reports
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — A 38-year-old Elkhart man was sentenced to 12 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice recently after pleading true to his probation violation on a count of sexual assault of a child under the age of 17.

According to Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe, Jesse Clayton Honeycutt II was sentenced by State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher on Jan. 17. The count of sexual assault on a child is a second-degree felony with a punishment range of between 2 to 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Honeycutt also will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

According to Lowe, the victim in the case was a 16-year-old female that felt she was in a “relationship” with the defendant.

On Sep. 5, 2013, Honeycutt was indicted by an Anderson County grand jury for the offense which occurred on June 2, 2013.

Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Watkins prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s office, and local attorney Bill House represented Honeycutt.

According to Watkins, sheriff’s deputies began investigating the case after the victim’s mother called the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

“The mother told authorities her daughter believed she might be pregnant as a result of a consensual sexual encounter with Honeycutt,” Watkins said.

During the investigation, Honeycutt gave a statement to Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Investigator Ronnie Foster confessing to the crime.

“During the interview, I told him (Honeycutt) that the victim had turned out not to be pregnant. The surprising thing was that Honeycutt was disappointed,” Foster reported.

Lowe said that a plea in this kind of case “allows for stiff punishment and allows the victim to avoid further embarrassment that a trial may cause.”

“Our office prosecutes child sex crimes aggressively,” Lowe said. “We have in the past tried cases and received jury verdicts in excess of hundreds of years for child sexual predators. We are also mindful that our ultimate goal is justice, justice for all parties. This process often involves getting to know the victims, and knowing how much trauma it may put them through to testify.”

“In this case, where the defendant acknowledged his crime, and the parties believed they were in a ‘relationship,’ we feel the time in the penitentiary and the lifetime registration provided for justice for all involved.”

According to Lowe, both the victim and her mother are satisfied with the result. The names of victims of sexual assault are not disclosed to protect them from additional trauma and embarrassment.