Waco man convicted of sexually assaulting two Arkansas teens sentenced to prison
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Waco man who sexually abused two Arkansas teenagers in Hewitt and Texarkana over the course of four years while his cousin videotaped the abuse was sentenced to 50 years in prison Thursday.
A 54th State District Court jury of 11 women and one man deliberated about three and a half hours Thursday before determining punishment for George Spratt Jr., 58, a ninth-grade dropout and part-time transient described by his attorneys and family members as a simple-minded alcoholic easily intimidated by his older cousin to participate in the abuse.
Jurors deliberated more than nine hours Wednesday before returning their verdict about 9:45 p.m., convicting Spratt of continuous trafficking of persons and one count of promotion of child pornography. Judge Alan Bennett sentenced Spratt to a concurrent, 15-year prison term on the child pornography count based on the jury’s verdict.
Jurors, who watched about 30 minutes of graphic videos of the abuse Tuesday that was captured on a variety of cameras, including two hidden in clocks, found Spratt not guilty on three counts of promotion of child pornography.
Spratt must serve at least 25 years in prison before he can seek parole. The jury’s verdict exceeds the 30-year plea offer from prosecutors that Spratt rejected before his four-day trial and the minimum, 25-year term his attorneys, Lyle Gripp and Jeremey Katrycz asked the jury to assess.
Spratt faced up to life in prison on both charges. The child pornography charges were enhanced to first-degree felonies because of Spratt’s aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury conviction in 2005 in which Spratt stabbed another man with an ice pick in Tarrant County. Spratt also has misdemeanor convictions for assault and criminal trespass.
Assistant District Attorney Kristi DeCluitt, who prosecuted the case with Tara Avants, told jurors in closing statements that Spratt deserved a life prison term for the pain and anguish he caused the brothers, who are now 22 and 19, respectively. “This jury gave a strong message to people who would prey on our children in our community that it will not be tolerated,” DeCluitt said. “This jury not only gave justice to these victims but this lengthy sentence will ensure that there will be no future victims of George Spratt.”
Gripp said after the trial that while the defense is not “satisfied with the outcome, we appreciate the hard work of the court and jury in this case.”
The defense team and Spratt’s younger sisters tried to portray Spratt as a simple, weak man who was easily intimidated by his larger cousin, Willie Ross Davis Jr., who they said plied the alcoholic Spratt with beer and domineered him into participating in the sexual abuse of the teen brothers.
The brothers are the adopted sons of Davis’ ex-wife and visited Davis at his Hewitt residence on South Haven Drive over spring break and summers. They lived at the time in Texarkana, Ark., and testified that Davis, whom they called “Paw Paw,” and Spratt sexually abused them in hotels in Arkansas and at his Hewitt residence.
Police officers found Spratt naked in Davis’ bed while Davis’ wife was sleeping in another room in the house after police executed a search warrant at Davis’ home in July 2020. They found 16 videos showing the sexual abuse of the young men in Davis’ house, including four that showed Spratt abusing the brothers.
Davis, 62, a former Waco school district employee, pleaded guilty in May and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Spratt’s attorneys argued that Spratt deserved a sentence less than Davis because Davis easily controlled his cousin, who complied with Davis wishes.
The older brother testified he had a stroke and a heart attack after riding the bus back home to Arkansas after weeks of abuse at Davis’ home.
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