Ex-deacon guilty in sex assault of girl, 6

Odem man, 65, apologizes to family, faces up to life in prison in sentencing today

Stephen Douglas Livingston, 65, is on trial for aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by contact in Nueces County.
Livingston was stoic as the verdict was read.
By Mary Ann Cavazos
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
January 16, 2008

A 65-year-old Odem man found guilty on Tuesday of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child remained stoic as the judge read the verdict.

Stephen Douglas Livingston was accused of inappropriately touching a 6-year-old girl on May 11 during a church movie outing at Five Points Cinema in Corpus Christi.

Jurors deliberated for about two and half hours before reaching a guilty verdict on both charges.

Livingston, who was a deacon and longtime member of First Baptist Church of Sinton, also was indicted last week on three counts of indecency with a child in San Patricio County, court officials said.

The trial's sentencing phase will resume at 9 a.m. today in 214th District Judge Jose Longoria's court.

He faces up to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine on the first degree felony charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. The second degree felony charge of indecency with a child is punishable by as many as 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Livingston testified he didn't know images he altered with PhotoShop were child pornography and that journals found by police on his computers and discs were research because he had plans to minister to child molesters in prison.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Anna Jimenez urged jurors not to believe Livingston's account and described him as a predator who sought out young girls to abuse.

"This man picked the most vulnerable prey," Jimenez said, pointing at Livingston. "If (the incidents) were accidental they wouldn't have been documented so graphically in those journals."

Defense attorney, Randy Mack argued not all the girls mentioned in the journals made accusations against his client. He also questioned the credibility of the girls who did testify they were abused and compared the case to the Salem witch hunts.

"This case is not about emotion," Mack said. "It's about facts and evidence."

After the verdict, Livingston, who asked for probation, apologized to some of the young girls' family members who attended the trial, saying he believed in second chances.

"I stumbled and I'm truly sorry for that," Livingston said, adding he prayed for forgiveness.

His wife, Anita Livingston, a Christian school teacher, said she believed Livingston's account that the journals were fiction.

"I believe that everything he does is intended for good," Anita Livingston said.


Contact Mary Ann Cavazos at 886-3623 or cavazosm@caller.com


See also:

Stephen Livingston sentenced to a total of 37 years, KIII-TV, 1/16/08

Girl says she was 'too scared' to tell, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, 1/11/08

Arizona Baptist youth minister charged, former Texas deacon sentenced for sexual abuse, EthicsDaily, 1/18/08

Youth pastor admits fondling little girls, KRIS-TV, 1/08/2008

Sinton, TX youth minister charged with child porn and indecent contact, KRIS-TV, June 5, 2007


SNAP Note:  First Baptist Church of Sinton is shown as an SBC-affiliated church.