A grueling weeklong trial ended Friday afternoon in 35th District Court as District Judge Steve Ellis sentenced Robert Thornburgh Jr., 45, to two stacked life sentences Friday for sexual assault of a child.
Speaking to a packed courtroom, Ellis delivered a stern and emotional lecture not only to Thornburgh but to "the system" that Ellis said had failed multiple teenage girls. Jurors heard testimony from victims and witnesses — most of them young adult women now — that included Thornburgh's two daughters.
The two counts on which Thornburgh stood trial stemmed from a sexual relationship Thornburgh was alleged to have had throughout much of 2006 with his then-14-year-old girlfriend. Prosecutor Sam Moss was able to introduce testimony that Thornburgh also sexually assaulted three other teen girls. Thornburgh, taking the stand twice, denied the allegations.
Thornburgh had maintained all of the girls were lying to help one of his daughters in her effort to gain custody of her young son away from Thornburgh. Thornburgh also denied other allegations including assaulting another inmate in the Brown County Jail, assaulting two men who were repossessing his vehicle and threatening the family of a CPS investigator.
"Your testimony is largely beyond belief," Ellis told Thornburgh as he prepared to pronounce the sentence.