More on the trial that sent an online predator to jail for the next 51 years.


By SARA VANDEN BERGE


It didn’t take long Thursday for an Erath County jury to sentence an Oklahoma man to 51 years in prison one day after finding him guilty on three counts of sexually assaulting a teenage girl he met online.


Robert McGaugh was given three 17-year sentences set to run consecutively.

According to a statement from District Attorney Alan Nash’s office, testimony began with the father of a 16-year-old girl describing how, on April 4, 2019, he located his daughter at the Roadway Inn in Stephenville in a room with then 48-year-old McGaugh.


The father contacted police and officer Zachary Robuck with the Stephenville Police Department arrived on scene within minutes.


Jurors watched officer Robuck’s body camera footage of the scene showing McGaugh, the young girl and her father standing inside.

McGaugh explained to officer Robuck that he had come to Stephenville from Oklahoma for a few days, and the young girl had called and was in the area and decided to stop by.


In subsequent interviews with Detective Jeremy Lanier, Sgt. Russell Ford and Detective Kevin Fincher, McGaugh explained that he talked online with the girl and others to help them through questions about sexuality, deal with depression and to avoid suicide.


In a search of McGaugh’s hotel room by Detective Brad Green, next to the zebra-pattern-blanket laden bed was a suitcase filled with sexually-oriented devices and creams, including “hog tie” restraints, “deep throat” numbing spray and other bizarre instruments of sexual debauchery.

During testimony in open court, the victim said that she met McGaugh when she was 15 on an online chat service called Omegle.


The online communications turned physical when McGaugh traveled to Mineral Wells to watch a band contest in which the victim was participating.


McGaugh and his victim had discussed how her parents were out of town, and McGaugh traveled to Stephenville, picked her up from the Stephenville High School band bus and spent the night with her in her parents’ house.

During that stay in the victim’s home, McGaugh had intercourse with her on two occasions.

McGaugh returned to Stephenville weeks later and picked up the victim and had intercourse with her in the back of his Lincoln Town car on the same zebra-striped blanket found in the Roadway Inn.


Forensic analysis of McGaugh’s cell phone revealed sexually-charged communications between McGaugh and the young girl, as well as sexually explicit photographs of the victim which constituted child pornography.


The cell phone also contained a list of “Daddy Daughter Little Girl” rules, which included reference to obedience of a little girl to “Daddy” and allusions to potential sexual punishments.


In the punishment phase of trial, Erath County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Vanessa Griffin and Taylor Williams testified to threats and hostility McGaugh had shown to female jail staff during his time incarcerated.

Assistant District Attorney Jett Smith handled the in-court prosecution of this case.

He played for the jury numerous recorded jail telephone calls involving McGaugh in which he declared his commitment to continue his lifestyle of involvement with underage girls and attempted repeatedly to contact the young victim by phone.


Locating and identifying important communications of the defendant was the result of painstaking, meticulous effort of Erath County Sheriff’s Office Captain Danny Clayton. In one phone call, McGaugh declared that no matter what he was ordered to do, he would “come down here over and over, again and again” to meet 16-year-old girls.


“Getting a dangerous, perverse man like McGaugh out of circulation is the result of good parents following their instincts and intervening to protect their daughter, outstanding, aggressive fact-finding and interrogation by the officers and detectives of the Stephenville Police Department and staff of the Erath County Sheriff’s Office,” Nash said is the statement.