A 41-year-old surgical technician begged jurors in 35th District Court Wednesday to spare him from prison for having sex with a teenage girl who lived with his family.

Robert Worthy pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of sexual assault with a child, and chose to have a jury assess him punishment. Jurors heard testimony Tuesday and Wednesday of the months-long sexual relationship that began in December 2003, when the girl was 15. Jurors began deliberating his punishment late Wednesday afternoon.

Worthy and his attorney, Fred Franklin, asked jurors to place him on probation. He faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and Assistant District Attorney Sam Moss asked jurors to sentence Worthy to 10 to 15 years.

Worthy, formerly of Brownwood, testified that he now lives in Waco with a girlfriend and works at a hospital there. He said he had once earned $140,000 a year in the medical field but now earns about $20 an hour, and is about $97,000 behind in child support payments.

The victim, now 19, Worthy’s ex-wife and his 19-year-old daughter all testified that they don’t want Worthy to go to prison. His ex-wife and daughter said they have forgiven him.

The victim, who had a troubled past, went to live with Worthy, his then-wife and their two children, according to testimony. Her mother had died and her father was in prison, and the Worthys took her in because she was friends with the Worthy daughter.

Worthy’s wife began suspecting something inappropriate was happening, and he admitted to family members that he was having sex with the girl, according to testimony.

He was arrested in November 2004.

Worthy testified he had fallen in love with the girl, and said he knows it was “totally wrong.”

“There’s no words to describe how bad I feel about it,” Worthy said. He said he is “not a monster” or “some evil person” but said he knows he has ruined his life and will never live down what he did.

Franklin told jurors the victim and Worthy’s family had moved on with their lives and that there would be no purpose in sending Worthy to prison. He said the district attorney’s office wanted “another notch in their belt” to generate news reports “so they can run for re-election.”

Moss told jurors Worthy had pursued and manipulated the girl, and lied to family members about what was really going on. “She was a victim waiting to happen,” Moss said.

He said Worthy hasn’t yet faced any consequences for the inappropriate relationship. He said Worthy has managed to maintain employment and maintain relationships after he “cheated on his wife with a 15-year-old girl.”

Referring to Worthy’s request for probation, Moss said, “You can’t give the defendant the punishment they want and expect their behavior to change.”