By Jeff Lehr
NEOSHO, Mo. —
A jury has convicted a Texas man of sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl in Newton County about 12 years ago.
Andrew L. Lemasters, 48, of Freeport, Texas, was found guilty of first-degree statutory sodomy in Newton County Circuit Court in Neosho. Jurors returned the verdict about 8 p.m. Wednesday at the conclusion of a two-day trial.
A 20-year-old woman testified that Lemasters sexually abused her repeatedly over a 10-year period beginning in 2001 when she was 8 years old.
Lemasters took the witness stand to deny the allegations, suggesting that the girl and her family had conspired with local law enforcement to bring the charges against him. He told the court that he has suffered for years from a heart condition that would have precluded any such sexual activity on his part.
The jury deliberated 90 minutes before convicting the defendant. A sentencing date has yet to be set. Lemasters faces from 10 to 30 years or up to life in prison for the offense.