David Simpson

A teenage girl took the stand Thursday and described a sexual assault by her stepfather’s best friend during the first day of testimony in a child sexual assault case before Sixth District Judge Wes Tidwell.

Now 17, the teenager was 14 years old when accused defendant David Lee Simpson, 44, of Whitewright, allegedly raped her during an early Sunday morning in January 2016 while the two were hog hunting near the family home in southwestern Lamar County.

Simpson is charged with two counts of second degree felony sexual assault of a child. He was indicted March 24, 2016.

On the witness stand at the Lamar County Courthouse for about an hour and a half Thursday afternoon, the young woman recounted in detail the alleged assault by the man she had known since she was 4 years old, and who spent most weekends drinking beer with her father and hanging out with the family.

Fighting back tears, the witness described how she fell asleep in her stepfather’s car while she and Simpson waited for hogs to appear down the driveway about 500 yards from the house in a clump of Bois d’Arc trees, and how she woke to him undressing her.

“I was scared. I didn’t do anything,” she testified. “He told me if I told, my father would kill him. I didn’t know what to do.”

Afterward, she said she walked back to the house, scared and crying, and went straight to bed without telling anyone. The next morning, she said, she ate breakfast with the family, Simpson and a woman with him before the visitors left.

The following Friday evening while texting her best friend, she told of the rape and the best friend sent a text to the girl’s mother.

“All hell broke loose,” the girl’s stepfather testified earlier as the state’s first witness.

After calming the girl and her mother, the stepfather testified he drove his daughter to Paris Regional Medical Center and later met with a Lamar County deputy while his wife stayed home with the couple’s two younger children.

During roughly 45 minutes of cross-examination, criminal defense attorney Robert T. Jarvis attempted to discredit the girl using earlier disputed text messages between the teenager and her friend. Those messages were the subject of a private Wednesday afternoon hearing, which delayed the beginning of the trial.

In addition to the teenager and her stepfather, Lamar County Assistant District Attorney Jill Drake brought to the stand lead detective Lt. Jonathan Smith of the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office and Lt. James Shanahan, also of the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office.

Testimony was cut short mid-afternoon Thursday when Tidwell told the jury of an undisclosed emergency requiring the attention of the court. The trial is to resume at a yet-to-be-announced time and date.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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