Judge hands down final prison sentences in Fresno County ‘throuple’ child sex abuse case

FRESNO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

A Fresno man and his girlfriend will both spend time in state prison for their roles in ongoing molestation and sexual abuse of the woman’s 12-year-old daughter.

Brent Allan Cox, 42, was sentenced Wednesday to more than 16 years in prison.

In the same hearing, Fresno County Superior Court Judge David Gottlieb sentenced the woman, 40-year-old Tammy Renia Schreiner, to more than four years in prison.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Janz had asked Gottlieb for a much longer prison term for Cox, seeking a 38-year sentence, but that was overruled by the court.

Cox and Schreiner, along with Cox’s wife Jillian Cox, were accused of engaging in a long-term, three-way sexual relationship in which the two women were accomplices in Brent Cox’s abuse of Schreiner’s daughter starting in May 2020.

The three were arrested by Fresno County sheriff’s investigators in early 2021. They called the case “horrific,” saying the trio were involved in a “throuple,” a relationship involving three people.

According to prosecutors, the three adults conspired to groom the victim to become Brent Cox’s “third wife.”

Prior to October 2020 prosecutors described Cox’s acts with the victim to be limited to kissing, but that progressed to involve sexual acts including oral sex and other acts over the next several months.

Jillian Cox, 38, agreed last fall to plead no contest to a charge of willful cruelty to a child and was sentenced in January to a year in jail and four years of probation.

Janz agreed to the plea deal because she was the least involved in the sexual abuse of the victim and was expected to serve as a prosecution witness against Brent Cox and Schreiner.

But a trial did not materialize. Court records indicate that Schreiner originally pleaded not guilty of lewd or lascivious acts with a child, child abuse and endangerment, and dissuading a witness (her daughter) from testifying.

In July, Schreiner changed her plea to no contest to the lewd acts and abuse/endangerment charges, while the charge of dissuading a witness was dismissed as part of the plea negotiation.

Brent Cox was initially charged with an array of offenses including continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual penetration with a foreign object, and meeting with a minor to commit a sexual offense, pleading not guilty to the charges in February 2021.

Last month he agreed to change his plea and was convicted of five counts including continuous abuse of a child, meeting with a minor for lewd and lascivious behavior, and possession of child pornography.

Janz said one reason for the plea agreement was to avoid requiring the victim to testify in a trial.

“The most important consideration was the mental health of the victim,” he said in August.

“She was traumatized and we don’t want to have her relive those circumstances.”

Janz said earlier this year that the victim had been reunited with her biological father and is recovering.

BrentCox’s official sentence amounts to 16 years and four months in prison, while Schriener faces four years and four months in a state prison.