LIBERTY (AP) — One of the 14 men accused in the repeated sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl accepted a plea bargain Monday during a court hearing in a case that has horrified and divided their small Southeast Texas town.

LIBERTY (AP) — One of the 14 men accused in the repeated sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl accepted a plea bargain Monday during a court hearing in a case that has horrified and divided their small Southeast Texas town.

Isaiah Ross, 21, of Cleveland, was facing life in prison on a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Under the deal, Ross agreed to testify against his co-defendants, whose trials are expected to begin next month.

Prosecutors recommended a 15-year prison term for Ross, though his sentencing won’t be held until Feb. 6. Ross, his family, his defense attorney and prosecutors declined comment about the guilty plea. A gag order bars anyone potentially involved in the case from speaking to the media.

Authorities say the girl was assaulted on at least five occasions between mid-September and early December 2010 in Cleveland, about 45 miles northeast of Houston. The investigation began that December, after one of the girl’s friends told a teacher he had seen a lurid cellphone video that showed the girl being raped in an abandoned trailer.

Six juvenile boys were also charged in the case, and three of them have pleaded guilty.

Most of the adult defendants appeared at Monday’s hearing in Liberty, and District Judge Mark Morefield indicated he didn’t want any more delays in the case. He said trial dates would likely be announced during a hearing Jan. 5.

“These cases are taking priority. In January, these cases are going to trial,” Morefield said.

Prosecutor Joe Warren told Morefield that all DNA testing has been completed. He said the trials of the remaining defendants, who have pleaded not guilty and are expected to be tried separately, could begin in January or February.

Warren didn’t detail the results of the DNA testing, which had caused delays.

Warren also told Morefield that a plea bargain offered to another defendant, 19-year-old Jared Cruse, would carry a 25-year prison term in exchange for his cooperation. Cruse is being held without bond and has been charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child. A decision on the plea offer is on hold until Jan. 5, because Cruse intends to hire another attorney. His current attorney declined comment.

Most of the defendants are free on bond, and none of those who appeared in court Monday spoke to the media. Many were allowed to leave the courtroom through a back entrance to avoid reporters.

The suspects range in age from a middle-school student to a 27-year-old, and include two star athletes at the local high school and adults with criminal records.

Most of the men face charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, while four face a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child.