This article contains graphic descriptions of a sexual violence against a child.
Carroll Gene Henderson pleaded not guilty Tuesday in the 59th state district court to charges that he sexually abused two girls under the age of 8 at an apartment complex in Sherman in January of last year.
Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Britton Brooks presented the three women and eight men hearing the case with a video conversation between Henderson and Sherman Police Department Cpl. Brandon Hughes in which Henderson admits violating a six-year-old child with his finger and to touching the bottom of another child in pursuit of sexual gratification.
During his statements to the jury, Henderson’s attorney Jeromie Oney urged the jury to separate the emotions they might feel at hearing his client’s statements from the law in the case. He said there are several elements to the charges his client faces that the state must prove for them to convict him of those charges and Oney doesn’t think the state has the evidence to prove those elements.
Oney’s client watched himself on a large television screen as the jury heard him confess his behavior to Hughes. Henderson rested his arm on the attorney’s table and his head in one hand as he watched himself repeatedly say his actions were in some part tied to his deep depression and suicidal feelings at the time of the incident.
Henderson said after the mother of the child walked in and found him with the child in the bedroom of an apartment that several families shared on Travis Street, he was thrown out of the apartment. He left the area before police were called. Hughes said those officers ultimately turned the case over to him and he had the children at the heart of the matter taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Grayson County where they both made outcries and one of the children was sent for a specialized medical exam called a SANE exam which collects evidence of sexual assault. Hughes said evidence later revealed that Henderson’s DNA was found in the underwear of the child who said Henderson had penetrated her vagina with his finger.
Henderson said he was not mentally well at the time of the incident and sought help at a local hospital for suicidal thoughts. He said he ultimately spent a week at a Crisis Center in Denison where he mostly slept and didn’t eat for two days.
Over and over again, Henderson denied having molested the children and even said that person who would do such a thing should be subject to the death penalty. Under repeated but calm questioning by Hughes, Henderson eventually admitted that he had been left alone in the room with the children and he had done what the child said.
However, he said, it was the 6-year-old’s fault. With a straight face, Henderson said the child had seduced him. He said she was always putting her own finger there and that the children in that apartment talked about sex a great deal.
He called the girl manipulative and said she actually grabbed his hand and put it in her vagina.
Hughes pressed again for honesty and asked if that was really the way it happened.
After a few more minutes of questions, Henderson admitted he was the one who initiated the contact.
“I need some mental (health) help,” Henderson said when Hughes pressed. But still he said it was the child’s fault saying that the way she acted caused him to do it.
“She says she wants to be a little boy — wants a penis,” he almost whined at the detective. Then the two walked through a similar path as Hughes asked Henderson about the little girl who claimed he had cupped her buttocks. Henderson repeatedly asserted that he wasn’t in his right mind either when he did it or as he spoke to the officer. Eventually, Henderson said he had been moderately sexually gratified by the touching.
That was important because it is one of the elements of the crime for which Henderson faces trial.
His attorney, Jeromie Oney then attacked the method that Hughes used in questioning Henderson. The method, Oney said, has been criticized because it can be used to solicit false confession from people who suffer from mental illnesses.