By Kathi Bliss
A Luling man will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars, thanks to a sentence handed down by a Caldwell County jury last week.
The jury took less than two hours to deliberate a guilty verdict for Joe Allen Page, 59, who was accused of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. They then returned a sentence of 75 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The accusation and sentence stemmed from an assault on a family member of Page’s, who was 11 years old on June 30, 2008, when the incident occurred. It was discovered when the victim’s mother found a text from her daughter to a friend, stating she had been molested by Page.
According to Caldwell County District Attorney Trey Hicks, Page said at trial that he could not remember molesting the victim, and that he believed she was lying.
However, other testimony reflected Page had been confronted by several family members when they learned about the assault, and he confessed to them at that time. After confessing to those family members, Hicks said, testimony bore out that Page was hospitalized after threatening to take his own life.
Family members found note in which he apologized to “those he had hurt.”
Testimony also showed that Page had molested other family members, and had solicited sex from yet others in the family.
Page testified that he was a lifelong alcoholic who suffered from blackouts.
The range for sentencing on a first-degree felony such as Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child is between five and 99 years, or life in prison, as well as a fine not to exceed $10,000. Having been sentenced to 75 years, Page must serve at least 30 years of that sentence before he is eligible for parole.
The case was investigated by Investigator Michael Collie of the Luling Police Department. Roxanne’s House of the Hays-Caldwell County Women’s Center also assisted with the investigation by conducting a forensic interview of the child victim. Attorney, Bart Denum, of Austin represented the Defendant. First Assistant District Attorney Luke Alsobrook and Assistant District Attorney Katy Alsobrook tried the case on the State’s behalf. Judge Todd Blomerth of the 421st Judicial District Court presided over the trial.