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Royse City man gets 3 life terms for sexually abusing 3 young girls

By J.J. Smith. A Royse City man was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison Sept. 13 on charges of continuous sexual abuse of three young girls that he and his wife had been babysitting between Sept. 2008 and Aug. 2009.

Tommy Lynn Stewart, 50, was sentenced by a Rockwall County jury which took less than 30 minutes to deliberate on punishment. Rockwall’s 382nd District Judge Brett Hall then stacked the sentences.

The same jury had found him guilty of the three charged offenses on Friday. Stewart will not be eligible for parole.

His wife, Shirley Imhoff, has also been in the Rockwall County jail since Dec. 8, 2009, awaiting trial on two charges of child endangerment.

“The jury certainly sent a strong message to the community that this type of heinous behavior should be punished to the full extent of the law”, said Culpepper. “This is the first time that this type of case has been prosecuted in Rockwall County since the legislature enacted Jessica’s Law in 2007, and we appreciate the hard work of the jury.”

Jessica’s Law, named after young Jessica Lunsford – who was brutally sexually assaulted and murdered in Florida in 2005 – mandates that offenders in Texas who commit heinous sexual abuse crimes of children must be sentenced to no less than 25 years in prison.

Assistant DA Damita Sangermano, lead prosecutor on the cases, stated, “This was a tough trial for everyone.  I am humbled by the courage of the young victims who were called to testify against the defendant and am glad to see that justice has finally been served in these cases.”

“We’re obviously very pleased with the verdict.”

The 9, 11 and 12-year-old girls lived in the same neighborhood as Stewart and Imhoff near James and Katy Streets and their families were friends, Sangermano explained. Two of the girls were sisters.

“One of the children – the nine-year-old – told her aunt what happened, which is what led to the discovery of the crimes. Her aunt then called the Rockwall County Sheriff’s Office Aug. 28, 2009, to report the crime. Soon after the other girls confirmed what the youngest girl had told investigators.”

The Assistant DA explained Stewart’s crimes involved digital penetration, the touching of genitals and oral sex.

“The girls were very brave,” she said. “It was extremely frightening. They tearfully testified despite his attorney’s attempt to discredit their outcries.”

“Stewart also testified in his own defense and pleaded ‘Not Guilty’.”

Sangermano added that the girls are now seeing a professional counselor paid for by the State of Texas to help them to overcome what they experienced.

“We certainly encourage any sexual abuse victim to get professional counseling and we make it available to them through the State’s Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund,” she said.

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2 Responses for “Royse City man gets 3 life terms for sexually abusing 3 young girls”

  1. shakira says:

    this is crazy he desevered it

  2. [...] Read the whole story today in TheRockwallNews.com about how a Rockwall Co. jury took less than 30 minutes to sentence Tommy Lynn Stewart to three life terms without possibility of parole. Then 382nd District Court Judge Brett Hall did his part and stacked them together. [...]

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