AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – A sentence of life without parole for a Central Texas man convicted of having a year long sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl has raised questions about the application of a new state law intended to fight trafficking of young people for sexual purposes.
The Austin American-Statesman reports the Hays County jury sentenced Robert Ritz in San Marcos, about 30 miles southwest of Austin. Court records show the 43-year-old prison guard met the girl online, where she gave a fake age.
The new law makes continuous trafficking of someone under 17 or continuous sexual abuse of someone under 14 punishable by life imprisonment without parole.
Prosecutor Brian Erskine calls the sentence a landmark victory but the law’s author, state Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston, says the law was misapplied.
Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com
AP-WF 5/16/2014 1:27