Guilty plea in molestation of 12-year-old

Kevin Dwayne Riles

A Beaumont man has pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a 12-year-old girl before a jury was to decide his fate.

Kevin Dwayne Riles, 23, of Beaumont, was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury Feb. 28, 2013, on an aggravated sexual assault of a child charge, a first-degree felony.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Examiner, the 12-year-old girl was reported missing from her Nederland home by her grandmother on Aug. 8, 2012, and soon after, police located the young girl at a Corley Street home in Beaumont.

The affidavit said once the girl was located, she told police she was at the home to have sexual intercourse with several other males, but named one: Kevin Dwayne Riles.

Police later obtained a video from the girl’s cellphone that the defendants took of her having intercourse with them as well as a still photo of Riles on the girl’s cellphone, the affidavit said.

The Corley Street home is owned by Riles, who declined to give a formal statement to police, saying only he knew the victim “because they were friends on Facebook,” the affidavit said.

When he appeared in Judge John Stevens’ Criminal District Court Tuesday, Jan. 7, Riles pleaded guilty in exchange for a lesser, second-degree felony of sexual assault that would cap his punishment at 15 years probation or possible jail time.

Riles entered his plea as a prospective jury waited outside for a trial to begin if Riles had decided not to plead guilty.

Riles was mostly quiet, asking Judge Stevens a few questions before he pleaded guilty.

“I didn’t have any knowledge of her age,” Riles said. “Does that still make me guilty?”

Stevens explained that not knowing the child’s age was no defense under state law and that Riles was indeed guilty in the eyes of the law when he had sex with the youngster.

“It could be a defense if you were within three years of her age, but you would have had to be younger than the age you committed, and you’re not within three years,” Stevens said. “You were nine years older when this happened.”

Laws regarding the sexual abuse of children have remained constant over time, Stevens said.

“When you have sexual relations with someone, you better be certain about their age,” Stevens said. “… That’s been the law for a long time in this state.”

With the guilty plea, Riles must register as a sex offender.

Riles is set to appear in Stevens’ court Feb. 3 for his formal sentencing.

Stevens said the law clearly puts the burden of responsibility on adults to know how old their sexual partners are.

“That’s just part of our moral culture in the United States. We protect children,” Stevens said. “It’s for the adults to show the maturity and self-restraint when it comes to taking off our pants and having sex.”