A Denison man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday after he pleaded guilty to charges of sexually assaulting a child in Sherman in 2015.
Wash La’Dub McKee, 35, was convicted of the second-degree felony in the 59th District Court after prosecutors say he had sex with a 15-year-old girl in September 2015, causing her to become pregnant.
“We feel very good because, under the facts and circumstances, this was a strong case, and the plea agreement definitely matched the facts,” Grayson County Assistant District Attorney Matt Johnson, who was lead prosecutor on the case, said.
Sherman Police first learned of the sexual relationship between McKee and the girl, identified under the pseudonym “HRP,” in November 2015, when the girl’s aunt filed a report with the department. The woman told investigators she had taken the girl to Texoma Medical Center one month before for “emotional issues” and, during the course of treatment, was informed by hospital staff that the girl was approximately five weeks pregnant. Following the discovery, the woman reported that her niece told her there was only one possible father; she identified him as “Wash” and estimated him to be roughly 30 years old.
When pressed about the pregnancy, HRP told investigators that she and McKee engaged in sex more than once during two weekend visits in which her aunt believed she was staying with a juvenile, female friend at an apartment occupied by the friend’s grandmother. Investigators found that McKee was known to the friend, as he had previously dated and lived with her mother. HRP said she knew McKee for several months prior to having sex and that she and her friend both engaged in sexual conduct with McKee at what was then his Sherman residence. However, no evidence was ever found to support her claim that the friend and McKee had sex.
Johnson said although HRP told investigators she consented to the sexual relationship and was not raped, McKee still committed a crime by engaging in sex with an individual younger than 17 — the legal age of consent in Texas.
“In this case, we had a teenage girl who willingly engaged in sex with a 35-year-old man,” Johnson said. “However, as we all know, 15-year-olds aren’t really at a place where they can make good decisions about the future. That’s why we place the onus on the adult to do the right thing. And here, he chose not to do that. He sexually assaulted a child who cannot consent to having any type of sexual intercourse with an adult.”
Though Johnson described McKee as a 35-year-old man in the aforementioned statement, McKee was 34 at the time of his sexual relationship with the girl.
Sherman Police conducted a noncustodial interview with McKee in April 2016 in which he said he believed police wanted to speak with him because HRP had told people that he impregnated her. He denied having ever engaged in sexual contact with HRP and told investigators that the girl had been to his residence only one time. A detective confronted McKee about his sexual relationship with HRP and said McKee did not deny the allegation and asked what evidence existed to support it. Court documents say the detective then asked McKee if he, as an adult, preyed upon the girl, to which McKee responded, “That’s not what happened. That’s all I’ll give you.” McKee then ended the interview by walking out of the room.
A message seeking comment from McKee’s court-appointed attorney, Michael McLellan, was not returned Tuesday.
Police obtained a sample of McKee’s saliva through a warrant issued one week after his interview and sent the sample to the University of North Texas’ Center for Human Identification in Fort Worth. Following the June 2016 birth of HRP’s child, McKee’s DNA was compared with the child’s. An analyst with the center said there is a 99.999998 percent probability that McKee was the father of the child.
“We probably never would have found out about this case, had he not gotten the victim pregnant,” Johnson said.
In relation to his charge of sexual assault of a child, McKee was arrested by the Denison Police Department in December 2016 and transported to the Grayson County Jail, where he posted a $20,000 bond. The terms of McKee’s bail were renegotiated in March. Following his conviction Monday, McKee was booked into the Grayson County Jail.
“It’s important that people understand that sex offenders don’t come in a typical size and shape of person and you can’t look at somebody and know,” Johnson said. “Sexual predators will often put themselves in a position to have access to a child. People need to be aware of who their kids are hanging out with and look for signs of emotional trauma and be willing to sit down and ask tough questions with their kids.”
Johnson said he knew McKee to be a well-known member of the community and said he was actively involved in basketball activities, though he could not verify media reports that McKee was a youth basketball coach or a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of Sherman.
A message left for the director of the Boys and Girls Club regarding McKee’s affiliation with the organization was not immediately returned.
McKee will be eligible for parole in 2022. Johnson said sex offenders typically serve 70-80 percent of their sentences.
Herald Democrat reporter Alex Maxwell contributed to this report.