FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – A 38-year-old Sugar Land man was convicted of the continuous sexual abuse of a young child last month.
It took a Fort Bend County jury less than an hour to convict Gary Paul Kirkman of the crime.
The weeklong trial ended on July 30.
Kirkman was arrested and charged in 2014 after one of his victims told police about the abuse, according to officials.
County officials said Kirkman began sexually abusing one of his victims in 2007, when the girl was 6-years-old. The abuse continued until October 2013.
While Kirkman was sexually abusing the child, he would also physically abuse her in an attempt to maintain control over her, according to investigators.
“The trials of child abuse cases are difficult for everyone involved. We know that testimony about sexual abuse is not easy for witnesses to provide or for a jury to hear," assistant district attorney Lisa Gregg said. "It is not easy for people to tell when someone has sexually abused them, and it is very emotional when the abuse occurred as a child. The child in this case was abused by someone she trusted; someone who was supposed to protect her. Too often children hide what is happening to them. We want children to know sexual abuse is never their fault, and there will be help when they come forward.”
During the investigation, Sugar Land investigators said they discovered a second victim. Police said Kirkman sexually abused a 9-year-old girl who didn't reveal the abuse until she was 12.
“Listening to testimony in these cases is difficult, and the jury in this case listened carefully to all the evidence presented. This jury sent a strong message to child abuse victims as well as to sexual offenders that the citizens of Fort Bend County will not tolerate child abuse. Period. We are so proud of these young ladies and all of the children who come forward when they have been abused. They are all our heroes,” Sherry Robinson, misdemeanor division chief in the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, said.
The punishment phase of the trial is scheduled for Oct. 5 at 9 a.m. His charge is punishable by 25 to 99 years or life in prison, with no chance for parole.