A convicted child predator was sentenced to life for crimes he committed over a decade ago after impregnating his underage victim.
Wilbert James Jones Jr., 57, of Ennis was handed three consecutive life sentences in prison after being found guilty on three counts of sexual assault of a child stemming from incidents that happened in 2011, according to a press release from the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office.
Although Jones denied having intercourse with the then-15-year-old victim, a paternity test showed he fathered the victim’s child, who was born in 2012.
Jones met the victim at a homecoming party, where he allegedly flattered and groomed her. He told her, “I like your shape,” while asking suggestively when she would let him have her, according to the press release. Afterward, he sexually assaulted her several times, including once when she was 5-6 months pregnant.
The assaults were unreported until 2020, when a family member of the victim filed a report with authorities, prompting the Ennis Police Department to launch a criminal investigation.
Jones went on trial — during which he allegedly tried to escape custody on one occasion — and was found guilty by a jury after three days of testimony.
“It took courage for a family member to come forward and speak the truth and support the child victim; she opened the door that the child victim walked through on her journey to justice,” said Ann Montgomery, district attorney of Ennis County, in a statement. “Child sexual abuse is a crime of secrecy, and it takes all of us to protect our children. As a community we are charged to say something when we see something.”
North Texas has seen several allegations of sex crimes this year. For instance, in early October, an assistant principal at Northwest ISD was arrested following allegations of sexual abuse of a child, as reported by The Dallas Express.
In Dallas, there have been 654 sex crimes committed this year to date, according to the City’s crime analytics dashboard. Alleged victims of these crimes have a median age of 16.
The Dallas Police Department has been short-staffed for years, fielding fewer than 3,200 police officers even though a City analysis recommends roughly 4,000. The effects of the shortage are quite apparent in Downtown Dallas, which has much higher crime rates than Fort Worth’s downtown area. The latter is reportedly patrolled by a special neighborhood police unit that collaborates with private security guards.