Jury deliberates Texas sex assault case

JUAN A. LOZANO
This undated booking photo provided by the Liberty County Sheriff's Department in Liberty, Texas, shows Eric McGowen. Opening statements were scheduled to begin Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Liberty in a trial for McGowen, who is charged with aggravated sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl in 2010 in Cleveland, Texas. McGowen is among 14 adults charged in the case. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child. (AP Photo/Courtesy the Liberty County Sheriff's Department)

LIBERTY, Texas (AP) — Attorneys have made their closing arguments and the jury has begun deliberating in the first trial to stem from the alleged repeated sexual assault of a young Texas girl by 20 men and boys two years ago.

Eric McGowen didn't show up for Thursday's proceedings after skipping out during a break in testimony Wednesday. He had been free on bail. The judge issued an arrest warrant for McGowen before testimony resumed Thursday.

McGowen faces up to life in prison if convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Prosecutors say McGowen and the other defendants from the small town of Cleveland sexually assaulted the then-11-year-old girl on at least five occasions in late 2010.

All six juveniles and two of the 14 adults charged pleaded guilty.