Local Man Allegedly Abused Minors for Decades


Averil Drew Cardwell | Image by Dallas County Jail

A longtime Irving resident arrested last summer allegedly had a history of sexual abuse dating back to the 1980s. Now, police are working to uncover other victims that may have been affected. 

Irving police arrested 69-year-old Averil Drew Cardwell on August 23, 2022, in his Cedar Hill home for the charge of Continuous Sex Abuse of a Young Child. Cardwell’s wife, Louise, is accused of knowing the alleged abuse was happening and was also arrested, as Robert Reeves, public information officer with the Irving Police Department, told reporters. 

The arrests occurred after a 21-year-old reported to police that Cardwell had assaulted her from ages 3 to 8. 

During the first investigation, Irving PD received a second accusation from another individual, pointing to the possibility there could be more victims.

So far, investigators have identified four victims in total. The sexual abuse allegations go back as far as 1986. 

The Dallas Express discovered Cardwell is a former Senior Firefighter & Paramedic/EMT at Dallas Fire & EMS, and a more in-depth social media dive shows multiple pictures of young girls posted on his Facebook page.

One post includes a photo of a young girl with a poem that Cardwell apparently wrote as the caption.

The poem read: “The Most Painful Tears, Are Not the Ones That Fall from Your Eyes And Cover Your Face…But are Instead The Ones That Tragically Fall From Your Heart, And Cover Your Soul…Bringing up Memories Pushed Deep Down Inside. For Not All Expressions of Pain Can be Heard…”

Cardwell was a longtime resident of the 1500 block of Upton Place before relocating to Cedar Hill, and investigators at Irving PD believe there are other victims yet to be uncovered. 

They are asking anyone who could have come in contact with Cardwell as a child or was allegedly victimized to reach out to Investigator Padrutt at 972-721-6565.

According to the district attorney’s office, one in five women from Texas is sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Across the U.S., one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18, and 34% of the time the abuser is a family member.

Reeves told reporters that Cardwell appeared to have used various strategies to grow closer to his alleged victims. He would allegedly invite neighborhood kids over to his house, befriend local families with small children, and use social media to make connections.

Back in October of 2022, a 22-year-old Michigan man was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl from Lubbock, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The perpetrator, Thomas John Boukamp, met the victim on a social media platform when she was 13. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Cardwell turned himself in at the Dallas County Jail on October 2, 2022, after a second warrant was issued for Continuous Sex Abuse of a Young Child. He has since been released on bond. No further information about Louise has been released as of the publishing date. 

There have been 47 sex offenses registered by law enforcement since the start of 2023 in Dallas. This represents a 27% increase compared to this time last year and indicates that the crime wave seen in 2022 shows no sign of abating without serious action taken by City leaders to make public safety a priority.

District 6, represented by City Councilman Omar Narvaez, recently appeared in The Dallas Express for its spike in prostitution-related offenses. According to the nonprofit American Society for the Positive Care of Children, a child that has been sexually abused is 28 times more likely to be arrested for prostitution later in life than a child that has not.

The Dallas Express reached out to the Dallas Police Department and Dallas shelter The Family Place for comment regarding prostitution offenses in the city but had not received a response as of press time.

There are additional charges pending in Cardwell’s case. 

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