Life Without Parole for Underage Sex in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas (CN) - A 43-year-old Texan was sentenced to life in prison without parole for a yearlong sexual relationship he had with a 14-year-old girl he met online.
Robert Ritz, a prison guard, was sentenced by a Hays County jury, in San Marcos, about 30 miles southwest of Austin. The Austin American-Statesman reported that the girl gave a fake age when they met online.
Ritz was sentenced under a Texas law aimed at sexual trafficking of children. Prosecutors apparently claimed that Ritz trafficked the girl to himself, and/or sexually abused her continuously.
Hays County chief assistant criminal district attorney Brian Erskine boasted of the conviction to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram. "Our endeavor is and has always been to be a leader in the prosecution of crimes against children," Erskine told the newspaper.
But the bill's author, Houston state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, told the Star-Telegram the law was misapplied.
"I don't see how the prosecutor was able to use this bill," Thompson, a Democrat, told the newspaper.