LIBERTY, Texas, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Jared Len Cruise has been found guilty of participating in the gang rape of an 11-year-old Cleveland, Texas, girl.
The verdict was offered Wednesday by a jury in Liberty County. Cruse faces a sentence of 25 to 99 years in prison, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Cruse, now 20, is the second of 20 defendants to be tried for allegedly sexually assaulting the girl over the course of four months in 2010. Eric McGowan was the first; he was judged guilty and received a 99-year sentence. Seven juveniles received probation and six adults each receive sentences of 15 years after pleading guilty in exchange for plea deals, the newspaper said.
In closing remarks defense attorney Steve Taylor pointed out testimony from the girl in which she answered "yes sir" to a question of whether she was a willing participant in the assaults.
"She told you she was a willing participant, but they [the prosecution] will tell you the law doesn't care," he said.
Prosecutors said the law provides no excuse for sex with children, and noted evidence in the trial included a videotape, made by the alleged participants, of a sexual assault.
"Look how proud he [Cruse] is on that video," said prosecutor Joe Warren in closing remarks, adding that rarely in his criminal trial work can he present an actual video of a crime being committed.
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