Austin sentenced in child porn case


TAYLOR COUNTY—A local man was back in Taylor County Circuit Court to hear his fate in a case involving the possession of lewd pictures of children.

Back in February, Terry Vaughn Austin, II, 29, of Grafton, appeared before Taylor County Circuit Court Judge Alan D. Moats to enter a guilty plea to two counts of possession of material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

With the entry of a guilty plea, the defendant faced confinement in a prison for not more than two years for each charge, a requirement to register as a sexual offender for the remainder of his life and following his prison term, he would be subject to an extended probationary period of up to 50 years.

Moats explained to Austin that the charges he was pleading to were brought by way of information through the Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney Office.

Austin was back in court on Wednesday to learn his fate in the matter, after a presentencing investigation had been completed and the report had been filed.

While speaking toward sentencing, Greg Michael, defense council, noted that the defendant has a tremendous amount of family support.

“He admits what he did was wrong, we aren’t denying that,” Michael said. “He has made an agreement to move in with his grandmother that lives in Tucker County. We are asking that he be placed on an alternative sentence through community corrections, to be transferred to Tucker County.”

Austin shared that he wanted to get his life back on track.

“I’m just hoping to be able to put this behind me. I want to get my life back on track, and I will not reoffend,” he told the court.

Unsatisfied with the option of an alternative sentence, Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney John Bord explained that the state would ask that Austin be sentenced to the penitentiary for his crimes.

The case initially started in the Taylor County Magistrate Court, following Austin’s arrest after a complaint was filed with law enforcement.

The alleged crime occurred in November, according to Moats. After the mother of a two-year-old child caught Austin sexually pleasing himself over-top of the toddler, an investigation was started.

“This whole case began when a mother came in and found him in her daughter’s bedroom pleasing himself while standing over the child. Then the images showing children being molested and assaulted were found in his possession,” Moats explained.

During the investigation, officers recovered pictures and a video from Austin’s cell phone that depicted minors in sexual acts.

“This not just an issue of you possessing the images, but that there is a direct correlation of having them, fantasizing about the images and then acting upon those fantasies,” Moats voiced.

He further commented that while Austin was not convicted of sexual misconduct toward the child, the pictures and videos in his possession were the basis for his behavior.

“They displayed a fantasy that he then carried out. It demonstrates that he is a danger to small children within this community,” Moats expressed.

With that, Judge Moats sentenced Austin to two terms of two years that would be held consecutively with each other, essentially making his sentence a four-year term. Moats noted that the defendant would receive credit for time already served.

It was further ordered that he would be required to register as a sexual offender for the remainder of his life and would be subject to a probationary period following the completion of his prison sentence.

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