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Case Number: 4:21-cr-00112-CVE
Judge: Claire V. Eagan
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Tulsa, Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer represented defendant charged with aggravated sexual abuse of a minor in Indian Country.
“Edward Parson repeatedly targeted, intimidated and sexually assaulted a vulnerable child,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “He’ll now spend the remainder of his life in a federal prison where he can no longer prey upon children."
U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan sentenced Edward Joseph Parson, 31, of Tulsa, to life in prison on June 10, 2022. In December, Parson was convicted by a federal jury of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor in Indian Country. Beginning in approximately 2017 and continuing through most of 2018, Parson repeatedly sexually abused the child.
"Mr. Parson's abhorrent crimes against a child were facilitated by the cowardly silence of individuals who attempted to conceal his despicable acts," said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray. "The FBI applauds the caregivers who disclosed these crimes to law enforcement. Alongside our police partners and federal prosecutors, the FBI will continue to protect our children from predators."
In a court documents prosecutors described the repeated sexual abuse inflicted on the child and explained how Parson kept the child quiet and afraid for some time. According to the child’s testimony, Parson would hit her on the face and arms, “grab her by the neck until her body became tired,” and harm her pet. Prosecutors further explained that when the child first disclosed the sexual abuse to an adult, Parson convinced the adult to remain quiet about the abuse. He continued his attempts to discredit the victim when she disclosed to others. Unfortunately, the first adults she spoke to tried to silence her.
Five months later, when she was safely placed with new caregivers, she disclosed a portion of the abuse again. Her new caregivers called authorities. The victim was later interviewed by child specialists at the Children’s Advocacy Center. During those interviews she disclosed multiple instances of physical abuse and extensive sexual abuse. According to a child sexual abuse expert who testified at trial, children often do not disclose sexual abuse immediately. When children do disclose, they frequently do so in pieces over time as they become more comfortable and as they are met with acceptance and support.
Prosecutors further discussed in court documents the long-term effects of childhood trauma. They stated that the impact of the abuse the victim suffered would likely ripple across her life.
When a child suffers numerous adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), it may eventually lead to altered brain chemistry and architecture, depression, anxiety, chronic diseases, drug and alcohol abuse, unhealthy future sexual experiences, or other struggles in adolescence and throughout adulthood. The trauma can also lead to decreased life expectancy. ACE’s include verbal, sexual, and physical abuse; neglect; domestic violence; household substance abuse; household mental illness; incarcerated household members; the death of a loved one; parental separation or divorce; community violence and more.
According to the CDC, enhanced primary care, victim-centered services, treatment to address ACEs, and other early supports can help lessen the long-term effects of ACEs.
Learn more about ACEs and strategies to prevent or lessen their effects here.
The defendant and victim are citizens of the Cherokee Nation and the crimes occurred within the nation’s reservation. The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chantelle D. Dial and Vani Singhal prosecuted the case.
18 USC 1151, 1153, and 2241(c): Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Minor in Indian Country
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to life in prison.