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A 79-Year-Old ‘Monster’ Who Raped a 12-Year-Old Girl and Forced Her to Have an Abortion Is Sentenced in Texas


Robert Shannon Crawford appears in a mugshot

An elderly Texas man with a decades-long history of sexual abuse was sentenced to life in prison late last week for raping and impregnating a 12-year-old girl – and then forcing her to get an abortion – in 1995.

Robert Shannon Crawford, 79, was convicted for aggravated sexual assault of a child on Nov. 10, 2022. Jurors in Grimes County took all of 15 minutes to return a verdict against the accused.

“In 25 years as a prosecutor, this is among the most egregious child sexual abuse cases I’ve handled,” Grimes County District Attorney Andria Bender said. “Robert Crawford is a child molester, who victimized children for decades. Today, the jury made clear in their punishment verdict of a LIFE SENTENCE what happens in Grimes County if you molest children. Today, they ensured this defendant will never again have the chance to traumatize another child.”

According to a press release from the Grimes County District Attorney’s Office, Crawford first appeared on law enforcement’s radar on June 12, 2021 when the Navasota Police Department responded to report of a child being sexually assaulted. A resulting investigation determined that a 14-year-old boy had been sexually assaulted by the defendant on three separate occasions, the DA’s office said.

The detective assigned to the case went even further back, eventually learning from several witnesses about the rape and pregnancy.

“Upon learning of the pregnancy, Robert Crawford took the child to an abortion clinic in Houston, Texas,” the DA’s office said. “The pregnancy was aborted. The crime had never been previously reported.”

According to prosecutors, Crawford “admitted portions of the 1995 sexual assault” and subsequent abortion to “corroborating witnesses.”

“[Navasota Police Detective Travis] Mullins also interviewed the 1995 victim, who confirmed she had been sexually assaulted by Robert Crawford inside his home,” the DA’s office said. “At the time of the offense, the victim was living in Navasota.”

In early September of this year, during a non-custodial interview that spanned some two hours, Crawford gave “multiple admissions” regarding the recent sexual abuse of the 14-year-old boy as well as the 1995 incident that led to the young girl’s abortion.

“During the interview, Robert Crawford provided details about having the victim urinate in a container and taking the sample to a clinic for testing after becoming suspicious the victim was pregnant,” the DA’s office said. “Upon verifying a pregnancy, Crawford confirmed he had driven the victim to an abortion clinic in Houston, Texas. He also verified he had admitted portions of this incident to three different witnesses in the years since the offense took place.”

A warrant was issued and Crawford was arrested hours later – after admitting that he intended to travel to Mexico on a one-way ticket; he also told investigators that he had just sold his home. When the defendant was taken into custody, he had his passport in his possession and was wearing a belt used to hide money.

Days after the arrest, Mullins received information from a third alleged sexual assault victim who now lives near Mexico City. During the 1980s, when she was in 5th grade, she moved to Texas with a relative who was romantically involved with Crawford. The woman told investigators that during this brief time in Texas, the defendant repeatedly sexually abused her.

“Eventually, Robert Crawford took the victim back to Mexico and left her,” the DA’s office said. “At the time of these crimes, the victim was 10 years old.”

But Crawford’s history of sexual abuse went back even further.

The DA’s office noted one case barred by the statute of limitations:

On June 28, 2021, Detective Mullins received information about a third sexual abuse victim. The information was provided by an adult woman, who had become aware of the ongoing investigation into child sexual abuse allegations involving Robert Crawford.

The woman told Detective Mullins that hearing about the allegations had triggered a memory from her childhood. The witness told Detective Mullins that as a teenager in the 1970s, a childhood friend had told her a “horror story” about Robert Crawford. The horror story involved Robert Crawford committing Indecency with a Child with the teenage victim. In the early 1970s, Robert Crawford and the teenage female lived near each other in Conroe, Texas.

During a trial that ran one week, three of Crawford’s victims testified against him.

“I am grateful a monster has been taken off the streets,” Mullins said after the verdict. “There is no doubt in my mind that there are more victims out there”

Crawford is currently being detained in the Grimes County Jail awaiting transfer to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

[image via Grimes County District Attorney’s Office]

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