By Janet Jacobs and Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun
Joseph “Joey” Dauben received three 10-year sentences in prison Monday in 13th District Court, his punishment for being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child. The incident for which Dauben was found guilty happened in 2007, an encounter with a 14-year-old boy at Navarro Mills Reservoir during a church retreat.
The 10-year sentences were for the three counts of sexual assault of a child. The jury also assessed 10 years probation on the count of indecency with a child. He could have been sentenced to 20 years on each count of sexual assault.
In closing arguments, his attorney asked the jury for probation, arguing that it was one incident and that his client would benefit from rehabilitation.
The prosecutor, Andrew Wolf, asked the jury to send a message to all pedophiles, and pointed out that Dauben had not yet been willing to face up to his crime, and wouldn’t take rehabilitation efforts seriously.
Whether or not Dauben’s sentences will be served consecutively or concurrently will be decided after a pre-sentence investigation. 13th District Judge James Lagomarsino set a hearing date for Jan. 22. Assistant District Attorney Wolf had asked for the sentence to be “stacked” — served one after another.
Navarro County District Attorney R. Lowell Thompson said he was pleased with the jury’s verdict.
“I think it is fair,” Thompson said, adding that the two year probation will occur after Dauben is released from prison, which could be as soon as five years if the sentences are served concurrently, or 15 years if they run consecutively.
“He’s a sexual predator, and its rare that we get the opportunity to monitor them after their release,” he said, adding that should give Dauben plenty of opportunity for treatment and follow-up.
The punishment phase of the trial began Monday morning, with several witnesses brought by the defense.
Among the witnesses were Dana Vincent, a family friend and member of the church where Dauben worships. She has nine children, ranging in ages from 4 to 21, she testified.
“I’ve never seen him do anything inappropriate,” she said. “I’m a very protective mother.”
Jeremy Mullendore and his mother, Julie Jordan Wade, testified that Dauben had helped Jeremy, a convicted drug offender, when he was sent to Kevin’s House, a half-way house in Ellis County. Dauben testified that his investigative journalism closed down the halfway house after he printed allegations of sexual abuse in his blog.
Tim Brooks, a probation officer with Navarro County, also testified, saying that Dauben has followed the rules of his release on bond since at least July.
Dauben was taken into custody following the verdict, and it was unclear if his attorney planned on filing an appeal.
“At the end of the day, Joey Dauben raped a 14 year old boy,” said Thompson. “He complained about Ellis County being soft on sex offenders. He found out that in Navarro County, we aren’t.”
Daily Sun Staff Writer Deanna Kirk contributed to this report.
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