Navarro County Jury Hands McDonald Life Sentence for Continuous Sexual Abuse of Step-Daughters
Navarro County Jury convicts Frederick McDonald Sr. of Continuous Sexual Abuse of his step-daughters and sentences him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
According to a press release issued by District Attorney Will Thompson, this week, a jury heard evidence from two sisters, Telicia and Tiana Appleton, regarding the years of sexual abuse at the hands of their step-father, Frederick Lammarr McDonald Sr.
Navarro County Jurors in the Thirteenth Judicial District Court, presided over by the Hon. James Lagomarsino, heard testimony over several days about the abuse that the girls suffered at McDonald’s hands, starting when the girls’ mother would be at work.
Navarro County District Attorney Thompson stated, ‘Three of the girls’ brothers also testified about memories of the girls being taken into McDonald’s bedroom while they were made to “go play outside.”’
Additional testimony was given by two childhood friends of the girls, who each remembered a time that they had been told about the abuse from one of the sisters, one in the fifth grade, and another from high school. Finally, the jury heard from Dr. Lydia Bailey of the Navarro County Children’s Advocacy Center about concepts like why children delay in making the outcry (telling someone about sexual abuse) and grooming (things the defendant did to prepare the children for abuse like cuddling and isolating them from their siblings.)
The jury deliberated for nearly five hours on Wednesday before returning their unanimous guilty verdict. The Court then recessed until Friday morning to hear punishment evidence. Among those who testified at punishment included a female cousin who was also one of McDonald’s victims back in 2010. The case, prosecuted by First Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wolf and Assistant District Attorney Michelle Moe, highlighted some challenges with child sexual assaults.
As with most such cases, there was no physical evidence to support the children’s outcries because the defendant’s grooming deterred them from disclosing the abuse until years later.
The defendant, McDonald, 52, took the witness stand and denied the allegations. During the trial, His wife, the girls’ mother, also testified on his behalf.
While victims of child abuse are not usually named in press releases, the Appleton sisters are now both adults and wanted their names, and their stories, shared in hopes of convincing others who have been abused to come forward.
As First Assistant DA Wolf said in his closing argument to the jury, “We don’t make child abuse go away by turning a blind eye; We make child abuse go away by shining a light on it.”