Cleveland gang rape suspect vanishes on first day of his trial

Cleveland gang rape suspect vanishes on first day of his trial

Cleveland gang rape suspect vanishes on first day of his trial

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Associated Press

Posted on August 29, 2012 at 7:14 PM

LIBERTY, Texas  -- An arrest warrant has been issued for Eric McGowen who failed to return to a Liberty County courtroom following a break during the first day of his rape trial.

He didn’t come back after an afternoon break that followed the testimony of two co-defendants who pleaded guilty in the case. One said he didn’t see McGowen have sex with the girl but did see him sexually assault her. The other said he never saw McGowen sexually assault the girl.

Testimony continued Wednesday despite McGowen's absence.

Earlier Wednesday, the 13-year-old Texas girl who authorities say was sexually assaulted by McGown and 19 other men and boys during a series of attacks two years ago took the stand. 

The girl told jurors Wednesday that McGowen, 20,k took her to a house in their community of Cleveland in October 2010 where she had sex with multiple males.
The girl cried while prosecutors played a video of one of the alleged attacks.
McGowen faces up to life in prison if convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child. He is among 14 adults charged in the case. Two men and all six juveniles have pleaded guilty.
McGowen's is the first case to go to trial.
Cleveland is about 45 miles northeast of Houston.

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