Repeat offender gets prison for child sex crimes

Vernon Ray Strong

Criminal District Attorney Bob Wortham announced Monday, Nov. 21, that Vernon Ray Strong, 63, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child and was sentenced by Judge John B. Stevens, Jr. to 20 years in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The “aggravated” nature of the offense and sentencing mandate requires that Strong serve at least half of his prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

According to evidence entered in the case against the previously convicted sex offender, on Christmas Eve of 2015, a 7-year-old girl reported to her family that Strong had been sexually abusing her.

“The victim’s mother, who had known Strong for several years, had recently been helping him get back on his feet,” Wortham’s office reports. “Strong had been attending church with the family for several weeks, and the victim’s mother invited him to stay at her home for the holidays. She knew Strong was homeless at the time and was worried about inclement weather. While staying with the family, Strong performed multiple sexual acts on the victim. The victim’s mother was unaware that Strong was a registered sex offender.”

Strong has prior convictions for sexual contact with a 4-year-old girl and aggravated sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl. Strong had only been out of prison about a month when the 2015 assault occurred.

“Strong is a predator in every sense of the word, and people like him deserve to be locked up,” assistant district attorney Kim Pipkin, who prosecuted the case, said. “At 63 years old, I hope 20 years is a life sentence for him, and he never has the opportunity to hurt another child.”