County convicts child rapist

·3 min read

Jul. 30—A Wilson County jury found Brian Gadbois guilty on 24 counts, including physical and sexual abuse of minors. The jury deliberated for less than two hours before handing down the verdict.

Gadbois, 40, of Watertown, was charged following an investigation that began in 2020 after reports of abuse surfaced.

Gadbois' convictions include 10 counts of rape of a child, three counts of aggravated assault, seven counts of aggravated sexual battery, and four counts of indecent exposure. Gadbois has remained in jail since a grand jury handed down an indictment.

The trial began on Monday. Jurors heard testimony from detectives with the Wilson County Sheriff's Office, who detailed how the allegations came to light and investigative actions taken by the agency, including the search warrant of Gadbois' home.

Expert witnesses from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation testified about DNA and video evidence recovered from the home.

During the second day of the trial, the jury heard from the sexual abuse victim and Cece Ralston, the forensic interviewer for the 15th Judicial District Child Advocacy Center. Ralston spoke with the victim shortly after the discovery of the crimes.

On the final day of the trial, two physical abuse victims shared their accounts before the medical expert, who examined the sexual abuse victim, testified.

Additionally, jurors reviewed numerous video segments from surveillance footage inside the home. At the trial's conclusion, the jury returned guilty verdicts for all 24 counts.

"Anytime you have a case like this, it is absolutely tragic," District Attorney Jason Lawson said. "I am so proud of the young victim who took the witness stand and told the jury what she had suffered in this case."

Lawson indicated that delivering testimony under those circumstances is not easy.

"It is always very difficult for any person to talk about these types of matters, and to do so publicly, and to strangers, and to see that done by such a young victim is worthy of recognition of her strength," Lawson said. "She displayed a tremendous amount of courage in her testimony."

That victim's testimony was not the only evidence that helped lead to the conviction.

"The same is true for the two victims of the physical abuse," Lawson said. "They took the witness stand and testified about the aggravated assaults that he had committed against them, and that also was no easy task. I am very thankful to the jury for delivering justice to these victims."

The district attorney praised the investigators and the prosecutors who tried the case.

"I can't say enough about the team of professionals involved in the investigation and prosecution," Lawson said. "Det. Jennifer Edwards and Det. Walker Woods of the Wilson County Sheriff's Office, as well as the prosecutors who tried the case, Tom Swink, Justin Harris, and Laura Bush, were simply outstanding in their professional collection and presentation of the evidence."

Lawson indicated that the verdict is only the "latest example of the work they produce," adding that Wilson County is "lucky to have them in the roles that they serve."

Gadbois remains in custody and will be sentenced at a later hearing. On Friday, Swink described the sentencing process in a case such as Gadbois' as complicated.

"The range of punishment on the 10 counts of 'rape of a child' is 25-40 years on each count (to be served at 100%)," Swink said. "The sentencing court will determine where in that range and whether they are consecutive or concurrent."

For the seven counts of aggravated sexual battery, Swink indicated that a range of punishment could be 30 years on each count, adding that the sentencing court will determine the consecutive or concurrent nature of those.

"The three counts of aggravated assault will likely be 15 years at 60%," Swink said. "The indecent exposure counts are punished at up to 11 months and 29 days each. Again, the sentencing court will determine whether all of the possible sentences above will run consecutively or concurrently."