Christopher Shane Artz
A 46-year-old College Station man has been sentenced to life in prison after a Fort Bend County jury found him guilty of continuous sexual assault of a young child.
Due to the nature of the offense, Christopher Shane Artz is not eligible for parole.
Artz pleaded not guilty to the first-degree offense and requested that a jury determine his guilt and punishment.
As a result, a three-day long trial commenced on Dec. 5 in the 240th District Court before Presiding Judge Chad Bridges.
The state, represented by Assistant District Attorneys Claire Andresen and Ashley Earl, presented evidence to the jury in the form of witness testimony, photographs, and a recorded interview of the defendant speaking with detectives.
Artz was represented by attorney James L. Mount.
The jury took only 20 minutes or so to convict Artz.
At the punishment phase of trial, the state provided additional witness testimony on the potential effects the defendant’s acts would have on the child victim throughout her life.
Mount presented expert witness testimony and argued that the defendant would not reoffend. On Dec. 8, the jury returned a sentence of life in prison.
Under Texas law, the defendant must serve every day of the sentence without the possibility of parole.
Evidence presented by prosecutors Claire Andresen and Ashley Earl, both assigned to the Child Abuse Division of the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, revealed that between 2011 and 2014, Artz engaged in repeated acts of aggravated sexual assault of a child younger than 14 years of age and indecency with a child.
According to the evidence, the acts occurred in Sugar Land and in another state as well.
The investigation was conducted by former detective Jarret Nethery,now a sergeant with the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office.
Andresen commended the witness who revealed the abuse she had suffered.
“No matter the strength of the evidence, these are always difficult cases to prosecute,” Andresen said.
“There is no statute of limitations for sex crimes committed against children because it is rare for a child to immediately disclose abuse.
“The child involved in this case was incredibly brave to come forward, face her abuser, and tell the jury what happened to her. I’m glad to see that justice has been served.”
Earl also praised the child.
“She’s a courageous young lady who stood up to her abuser of so many years,” Earl said.
“This verdict also sends a message to the community that there are severe consequences for those who abuse children in Fort Bend County.”
Witnesses called by the defense during the punishment phase of the trial did not believe that the defendant had committed the offense, even after hearing his confession.
“Child sexual abuse is a secret crime,” Andresen noted.
“Most often, individuals who know the abuser would never suspect they were capable of committing such a crime.”
An expert called by the defense noted that this was a “horrific” crime.