Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas


January 10, 2013

Dauben alleges conspiracy in trial

Claims Ellis County ‘political machine’ out to get him

Corsicana — Joseph G. Dauben, 31, took the stand Thursday in his own defense in 13th District Court in Corsicana.

Dauben is on trial, charged with three counts of sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child for an incident alleged to have taken place in 2007 at Navarro Mills Reservoir at a church retreat.

On the stand, Dauben said that a 19-year-old Dallas man who accused Dauben of having taken advantage of him sexually, lied about nearly everything, including allegations that Dauben brought whiskey to the retreat, gave it to minors and then lured one of them away and had sex with him in the showers.

“The allegations from (the boy) are absolutely false,” Dauben told the jury Thursday, during one of more than a dozen outbursts that earned him at least one ringing bang of the gavel from District Judge James Lagomarsino. His own attorney, the judge, and the prosecutors asked him repeatedly to answer only the questions asked and not to elaborate, but he continued to go beyond the scope of the questions.

On the stand, Dauben explained his frustrated and impulsive testimony as passion over being falsely accused.

Dauben identified himself a publisher and investigative reporter for the Ellis County Observer who one day wants to run for president of the United States. He also hinted that the charges are related to a series of articles he did for his publication that resulted in the closure of a halfway house in Ellis County.

Dauben told the jury it was his job to speak for other people in the media, adding: “That’s why I’m being attacked so much.”

The owners of the halfway house, and his accuser, were both from Keller, which Dauben said was not a coincidence but was part of a larger conspiracy involving Ellis County politics and the criminal justice system.

The alleged incident took place when the Olive Tree Ministries of Waxahachie came to Navarro Mills for the Feast of the Tabernacle, a lakeside retreat in 2007. Dauben brought an inflatable boat that was used by various congregation members. Although his accuser said Dauben also brought a bottle of Wild Turkey whiskey, Dauben said he did not, that the 14-year-old boy took it from his father’s tent.

“I did not provide the Wild Turkey,” Dauben said. He also denied challenging the teens to a drinking game, or providing any alcohol to anyone at the retreat. He said it was the boy’s suggestion that they go out in Dauben’s boat after everyone else had gone to bed.

“It was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made,” Dauben said in yet another outburst. “I’m not afraid to admit that.”

After being chastised again, Dauben said he was the one who called off the boat trip and that after that he went to bed in his own tent. He denied going into the showers with the boy, or of having any form of sex with the boy.

“That’s absolutely 100 percent not true, I’m falsely accused,” Dauben said.

Shortly thereafter, he said the boy sent him an electronic message saying “you did something to me,” Dauben testified. He claimed he didn’t block the boy’s communications because he was “investigating” and trying to find out what he was being accused of.

Dauben said he went and told the pastor of the church, who was also an Ellis County probation officer, and the pastor told him not to worry about it. When Dauben told a colleague at the newspaper about it, he said he was told to save a copy of each of the messages and the colleague also said he’d been accused by the same boy of the same kind of act.

Certainly one of the more damning things that the prosecutors presented was a Facebook message from Dauben wherein he told the boy “I hear a shower calling,” which the boy said he interpreted as sexual.

Dauben said it’s his practice to turn on the shower and then go back and work on his computer or make phone calls while it warms up.

“I know it looks really bad,” Dauben told the jury.

Under cross examination by Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wolf, Dauben again admitted to drinking the night of the alleged assault, but claimed the alcohol was not his, rather it belonged to the alleged victim.

“I was not intoxicated to the point where I didn’t know what was going on,” he said, adding “it was wrong for anyone to be drinking out there.”

Dauben was told several times by Judge James Lagomarsino to answer questions that Wolf was posing without any additional explanation. He at times became flustered on the stand responding to Wolf’s line of questioning.

“I’m confused as to how you are asking the questions,” he said once.

Wolf questioned Dauben again about the message he sent to the alleged victim referencing the shower running, asking why he would send such a message to someone who had made an accusation against him.

“I did not mean for him to perceive it that way,” Dauben said.

Dauben also again raised his belief of a conspiracy against him for his investigative reporting in Ellis County.

“If the jury could hear what I’ve been writing about, they would understand,” he said.

“Who is after you?” asked Wolf.

“Members of the Ellis County political establishment have been wanting to get me for a long time,” he said.

He again denied anything of a sexual nature occurred with the alleged victim.

Also taking the stand Thursday were Bruce Hernandez, a friend and acquaintance of Dauben, who testified he, too, had received a threat from the alleged victim, a threat to tell police he (Hernandez) was a child molester.

However, Texas Ranger Jason Bobo testified that at no time was Hernandez a suspect in the case.

Brandy Owen, former Managing Editor of the Ellis County Observer, one of Dauben’s online newspapers, said Dauben told her that after drinking with the alleged victim and going out on the boat, that the two did go up to the bathroom area before going to the campsite, leading to another outburst by Dauben.

“What?” he was heard to exclaim from the defense table, again drawing an admonition from the judge.

Both the prosecution and defense rested their cases following Thursday’s testimony. Lagomarsino set 10 a.m. Friday for closing arguments and instructions to the jury before they begin deliberations.


Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at Bob Belcher may be reached by email at Want to “sound off” to this article? Email:


Text Only
  • 4-29-14 DD Car Show Main copy.jpg Shakers and Scrapers Car Show enjoys nice weather, big turnout

    The 11th Annual Shakers and Scrapers Car Show went off without a hitch Saturday thanks to the leadership of new event organizers Mustang Sally Productions (MSP).

    April 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • 3-27 Expo Steers Grand.jpg Three-peat: Blooming Grove's McGraw claims Grand Champion steer

    It was a year of repeats for students entered in the 2014 Steer Show at the Navarro County Youth Expo.Lainie McGraw, 17, of Blooming Grove FFA, won the Grand Champion steer, as she did last year and the year before; and Noah Grounds, 15, of Blooming Grove/Barry 4-H won Grand Champion Showmanship, as he did last year. He also won the top prize for showmanship in the heifer show this year. He won reserve champion in that category last year.

    March 27, 2014 4 Photos

  • 3-28 Expo Meat Rabbit Grand.jpg Clagett takes top pen in Market Rabbits Division

    Josiah Clagett of Corsicana FFA won Grand Champion in the Breeding Rabbits Division in 2010. It was his “rookie” year and first time to show.

    Clagett came full circle this year to claim the other top rabbit title. He took home Grand Champion honors in the Market Rabbit Division Thursday at the 56th Annual Navarro County Youth Expo. The winning pen was the only one he entered.

    March 27, 2014 4 Photos

  • 3-26-14 Expo Commercial heifers.jpg Curl wins first leg of Commercial Heifers

    Caleb Curl, 13, of Frost FFA, won grand champion of the commercial heifer show, the first leg of the commercial heifer overall prizes. Unlike a lot of the other animal categories, commercial heifers aren't show-things with smooth coats and stardust on their hooves. They're straight out of the pasture, a bit muddy and certainly not the lady-like, pampered creatures that will be led around the ring in the registered heifer show.

    March 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • football-generic.jpg LIVE BLOG: College football signing day

    Follow all the action on college football Signing Day with coverage from across the CNHI network as well as from the national sports media. Live coverage begins at 8 a.m. ET.

    February 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • 11-21-13 Annie.jpg ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ through Sunday at the Palace

    It’s the big musical, the one that makes me think of ‘cast of thousands,’ or in our case, dozens at least, and it’s here only for a few short days. ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ is Irving Berlin’s candy box treasure of a play about Annie Oakley, the sharpshooter in love with a showman.
    It’s presented by the Warehouse Living Arts Center but because of its size is on stage at the Palace Theatre. Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee.

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • 11-21-13 Farmer of the Year.jpg Short named Farmer of the Year

    Agriculture businesses like farming and ranching are the backbone of Navarro County. Many farming families go back several generations.
    Since at least 1965, the Corsicana Rotary Club (Wednesday club) has recognized and said “thank you” to the unsung heroes of the soil.

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • 11-21-13 Hospital.jpg New clinic open

    A new medical practice in partnership with Navarro Regional Hospital is now offering comprehensive occupational medicine services.

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Purdon man sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for gun violations

    Erik Willis, 31 of Purdon, was sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to serve a total of 258 months in federal prison following his conviction at trial in July 2013 on three felony firearms offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

    November 20, 2013

  • 8-6 Weather Graphic.jpg Heat Advisory issued for North Texas

    • Avoid the Heat. Stay out of the heat and indoors as much as possible. Spend time in an air conditioned space. Only two hours a day in an air-conditioned space can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illness.

    August 5, 2013 1 Photo

AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts
Seasonal Content
House Ads
Twitter Updates
Front page
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide