Sexual assault of a child lands Sherman man 50 years

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
Randy Duane Alexander Hayes was sentenced to 50 years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Note: This story contains graphic material.

Back on June 4, Randy Duane Alexander Hayes, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child in exchange for an agreement with the Grayson County District Attorney’s Office that they would drop the continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 and two counts of possession of child pornography that he also faced. The agreement capped any sentence he might get for the first degree felony at 50 rather than 99 years.

Thursday, Hayes showed no emotion as Judge Larry Phillips sentenced him to 50 years in prison.

In doing so, Phillips said he didn't buy Hayes' defense that it was the methamphetamine addiction that caused him to sexually violate a nearly 13-year-old girl in his own home. Phillips also said he runs the local drug court and deals with a number of people who struggle with methamphetamine addiction. They don't all exhibit the kind of behavior that was discussed in the courtroom this week during Hayes' sentencing hearing.

The D.A.'s Office to cap the sentence at 50 years took into account that fact that Hayes did not make the girl testify in the case and that he talked to investigators early on in the proceedings. Hayes will have to serve half of that 25 years before he is eligible for parole.

Hayes' attorney Jeff Wilson argued for the judge to sentence his client on the lower end of the sentencing range so that Hayes would have time to make a life for himself once he gets out of prison. Wilson argued that the behavior that landed Hayes in court took place during a month-and-a-half long period in his life, and there was no evidence anywhere else in his life that he was a sexual predator.

Throughout the hearing that took place over the course of two days, Wilson repeatedly called the interaction between Hayes and the almost 13-year-old girl who moved into his home when her grandmother was living with his cousin who also live in the home, "a relationship."

"These two people fell in love," he said.

After the trial, Wilson could not be reached before publication for additional comment.

During the trial, Hayes said they were "boyfriend and girlfriend" and he even gave her his mother's ring.

He also said he knew the situation was wrong and thought about stopping it.

"I don't know what devil was riding me. I am just sorry. You all don't know what I would do to turn back the time," he said under questioning from Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith.

Though Smith questioned Hayes about statements on a smartphone app that referred to "doing lines and smoke (drugs)" and the girl's fear that she would not pass a drug test, Hayes said he never gave the girl drugs. He said he did meth in front of her and she knew where he kept the drugs. He also said she was worried she would test positive because she breathed in the smoke from his drug use.

He also said he never actually had sexual relations with the child because the meth kept him from being able to get an erection. He did penetrate her private areas with his finger on a number of occasions and engaged in oral activities on those occasions.

In almost the same breath that said he was completely responsible for his actions, Hayes said the girl pointed to the parts of her body she wanted him to touch her. He then admitted that he might have a problem about young girls with which he might need help.

When Smith asked about the thousands of photos of naked women and children found on Hayes’ phone, Hayes said he had downloaded some pornography off the internet, and once he started the download, it continued for days. He said he didn't look at most of it, and he deleted the stuff he thought was really awful. Testimony in the hearing revealed that some of that material contained images of infants being raped.

Some material did depict adult women and some of it contained photos of pre-pubescent girls in sexually suggestive situations.

After the hearing, Smith said "I think the evidence showed that Mr. Hayes is a pedophile. He was engaged in an aggravated sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl by giving her meth and possessing large amounts of child pornography. I think that says everything that we need to know about Mr. Hayes."

As to Hayes' contention that he didn't intend to download the child pornography when he downloaded adult images, Smith said "I don't believe it. I think that's an excuse. Child porn is not found on the same websites where adult porn is found. You have to go out and search it on the dark web. It can be found, but its not available on internet websites. You also don't mistakenly download 23,000 images of child erotica or 1,300 images of child porn including 26 child pornography movies. I don't buy that for a minute."

Smith also said calling it child pornography is really a misnomer.

"What it really is, its the sexual torture of children and infants,“ he said ”That's what we need to call it. We had (in this case) graphic evidence of infants being sexually tortured."

Phillips too railed against sexually explicit photos of children saying possessing child pornography is not a victim-less crime. Those children are victimized every time someone else downloads or shares that material, he said.

"These are people who we have to protect," Phillips said. Phillips said Hayes will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and he is forbidden any contact with the girl at the heart of the case.

On the stand during the hearing, the girl's grandfather said she has been in counseling since the situation came to light and likely will be for some time.

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Randy Hayes