MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas - A Montgomery County man accused of sexually assaulting his then girlfriend's 13-year-old daughter has been sentenced to two life sentences.
A jury found Jeffrey Michael McDonough guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child last Thursday, and repeated that guilty verdict again the next day.
Investigators said McDonough met the then 12-year-old girl and her mother in the summer of 2014, and began dating the woman shortly after.
McDonough eventually moved in with the woman and her daughter in February 2015.
A teacher testified in court she could see physical and emotional changes in the victim, going from a happy student in the fall to showing anger and reserved behavior the following spring.
The victim drastically cut and changed the color of her hair, and began cutting herself, prosecutors said.
The mother of the victim said she too noticed the changes in her daughter's behavior, and said she was suddenly unable to sleep and experiencing nightmares.
The teen confided in a family friend she had been raped by McDonough, according to prosecutors, only after she told her mom she wanted to move to Dallas to live with her father.
When the girl was examined by a forensic nurse, who performed a sexual assault examination, she found more than 100 cuts from self-mutilation on her arms and legs.
The victim's school counselor explained to jurors that cutting is a way some victims of trauma control their pain.
The girl, now 15, also testified before the jury, giving intimate details about what happened.
"I am so proud of that little girl for taking the stand, facing the man who violated her in the worst way an adult can violate a child, and telling her truth to the jury," prosecutor George Napier said. "She's braver than most adults I know. She's an inspiration to me."
McDonough was found guilty after almost three hours of deliberation.
Under Texas law, McDonough will be eligible for parole in 30 years, or possibly less with good time, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney's office.