Age is nothing but a number, a 38-year-old man told his 14-year-old girlfriend as the two had a sexual relationship throughout much of 2006.
That was the testimony Tuesday from the now-21-year-old woman in 35th District Court as Robert Thornburgh Jr., now 45, listened expressionless, seated at the defense table next to his lawyer, Rudy Taylor. Thornburgh is standing trial on a two-count indictment for sexual assault of a child.
In 2005, prosecutor Sam Moss told jurors in his opening statement, Thornburgh had just moved in with his sister in Brownwood, and the girl's mother and Thornburgh's sister were friends. The girl and her family lived nearby and the two became acquaintances, Moss told jurors. They ended up in a sexual relationship while the girl was a freshman at Brownwood High School.
Moss told jurors that witnesses would include one of the girl's friends who saw them having sex at a lake in Abilene.
Taylor told jurors in his opening statement that "hell hath no fury as a teenage woman scorned." Taylor said Thornburgh had helped the girl with her homework and was trying to help her with her family issues. But the girl "wanted to think they were in a dating relationship," Taylor told jurors.
"Evidence will show (the girl) was after Robert," Taylor said.
Speaking softly and occasionally crying, the now-adult woman and mother of two told jurors she had "bounced around" between relatives and her mother had been a drug user. She said she met Thornburgh after going to the home where he lived with his sister, looking for her mother.
"She had left me and I didn't know where she went," the woman said. "She said she'd be right back and never came back."
She and Thornburgh talked, and "he told me I looked older. I told him I was 14," the woman testified.
The two talked on other occasions and it became "a relationship. I was his girlfriend," the woman testified. In early 2006, she went to the home to talk to Thornburgh, who said "let's go to the bedroom," the woman told jurors.
The relationship lasted until November 2006, when her parents sent her to live with a relative in Waco after finding out about the relationship, the woman testified. She said she ended up living in Coleman with her father, and Thornburgh had another girlfriend. The woman said she ended up having one more sexual encounter with Thornburgh in May 2010 after Thornburgh broke up with the girlfriend, she testified.
At the end of 2010, the woman and her current boyfriend were living in Comanche with their months-old daughter when a CPS investigator visited their home "about the living conditions," the woman testified. She said she began talking to the investigator about her past and told him about her relationship with Thornburgh.
The woman said she didn't talk to the CPS investigator about Thornburgh with the idea of seeing Thornburgh prosecuted. "Are you out to get Robert Thornburgh? Are you out to get him in trouble?" Moss asked the woman.
"It needs to be told," the woman replied. She made a reference to her daughter, saying "I don't want someone to do it to her."