Covington man convicted after girl's harrowing testimony of abuse

Covington man convicted after girl's harrowing testimony of abuse

ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A St. Tammany Parish jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts Wednesday against a 29-year-old Covington man on two counts of aggravated rape and three counts of sexual battery for multiple incidents involving a girl who was younger than 13.

Robert C. Flowers, faces mandatory life in prison on the aggravated rape charges and 25 to 99 years in prison on each of the sexual battery charges. His sentencing is set for July 7.

The victim, who is now 14, testified Tuesday that Flowers began touching her sexually when she was about 5 years old, and that the abuse progressed and continued until December 2012.

A woman named Sandra Gaines introduced the girl to Flowers, and the girl testified that both adults repeatedly sexually abused her. Gaines is scheduled to be tried in August.

The jury heard a taped statement from Flowers, admitting that he had intercourse with the girl while Gaines participated. Flowers testified that his confession had been coerced, but the jury rejected that argument, as well as his contention that the victim had made up the stories of abuse.

The victim first told a teacher that Flowers and Gaines were molesting her after her class had viewed a video about sexual abuse. The teacher then took the girl to the principal, who contacted the appropriate authorities.

Jurors also saw a videotape by the Children's Advocacy Center of the girl describing the details of the sexual abuse to a counselor.

"She didn't have a normal childhood, and that's why she has this emblazoned imprint of five to six years of horror," the prosecutor said in his closing statement. "What she was able to tell you comes from deviant sexual behavior, not normal childhood experiences. …They robbed her of her childhood."

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