TEXAS, USA — A former Paint Rock Independent School District board of trustees member has been sentenced to 45 years in prison, according to the 119th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
Daniel Wayne Bennett was indicted on a count of continuous sexual abuse of a young child, a first-degree felony; and two counts of sexual assault of a child, a second-degree felony.
According to a release from DA John Best's office, in June 2016, a then-recent graduate of Paint Rock High School reported to the Concho County Sheriff's Office she had been sexually assaulted by Bennett since she was 11.
The victim said the sexual assaults began in Paint Rock the summer she started junior high school and continued until she was 17.
Because of the nature of the offense, the Texas Rangers were called in to assist in the investigation.
A search warrant was obtained for Bennett's cell phone records and officers found six years of text messages between Bennett and the victim. The texts were consistent with the victim's account.
During the investigation, law enforcement identified and found another victim.
The second victim told officers she had been sexually assaulted by Bennett twice when she was nine.
Bennett was indicted by a Concho County grand jury in January 2018 for continuous sexual assault of a child; and two counts of sexual assault of a child for his conduct associated with the first victim.
Before trial, the State requested and was granted a change of venue from Concho County to Tom Green County.
Bennett appeared before Judge Mike Freeman in a jury trial that began April 26. A Tom Green County jury found Bennett guilty of all three charges. The jury recommended sentencing of 45 years in prison for the count of continuous sexual abuse of a young child and 10 years in prison for each of the two counts of sexual assault of a child. The sentences will run concurrently.
"I want to thank both victims for having the courage to come forward and the strength to see this case to conclusion. I also want to thank the Concho County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers for investigating the allegations brought by the first victim, and for helping to locate the second victim. Finally, I want to thank the members of the Tom Green County Jury for their careful consideration of the sometimes difficult-to-hear testimony associated with this case, and for assessing a significant sentence for the defendant’s conduct," District Attorney Best said in the release.