By CLINT FOSTER
PALO PINTO – After five years of uncertainty, Tuesday a felony indecency case was finally brought to court and a verdict was delivered.
Timothy Robert Hoskins, 49, of Mineral Wells, pleaded guilty Monday to two 2009 indictments for indecency with a child by sexual contact, with a jury waiting in the halls of the Palo Pinto County Courthouse. After the trial on Tuesday afternoon, District Judge Mike Moore ruled that Hoskins would serve two sentences of 10 years confinement – which he would be allowed to run concurrently – as well as pay a $2,500 fine for each case. Moore also ruled that Hoskins would not be eligible for parole until he had served at least five years of his sentence.
The incident that launched this long saga took place in January of 2009 at Hoskins’ Mineral Wells residence. According to information presented in the case, Hoskins was keeping two boys belonging to his longtime friends, Robert and Peggy Crutsinger.
In a filmed statement presented as evidence, Hoskins said he had kept the boys – ages 5 and 9 – multiple times, but on one particular occasion, they “demanded” to shower with him. While in the shower, Hoskins claimed that one of the boys forcefully grabbed his private area, leading Hoskins to do the same to the boy in an attempt to show him that it hurt and he should not do that. In addition, evidence was presented that Hoskins became sexually aroused at some point during the shower.
According to Hoskins’ statement and the testimonies of multiple witnesses, he frequently looked after multiple neighborhood kids and family members and had never done anything like this before or since. One neighbor went as far as to say that he practically raised her daughter. Both that witness and others who were brought to the stand by Hoskins’ attorney said they would trust him with their kids, even after learning that he had pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him.
As a result of his original indictment, witnesses said Hoskins lost his job, his home and became depressed. In his filmed statement, Hoskins told Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Jordan – who was a police sergeant investigating the case at the time – “my life’s pretty much ruined now.” One of his defense attorney’s primary points when requesting probation for his client instead of confinement was that Hoskins understood what he did was wrong and had already suffered enough, being forced to “bear the scarlet letter” of a sex offender for the rest of his life.
But to the Crutsingers, the damage done was significant and needed to be punished. As a witness in the case, Robert said that his sons had to seek counciling and continue to struggle with anger issues.
According to law referenced in the trial, felony indecency typically calls for a prison sentence between two and 20 years. Crutsinger told the Index he and his wife hoped that Hoskins would get “at least” 20 years confinement, making their reaction to the verdict mixed.
“I’m happy that we finally got justice,” he said. “But what is justice? Yeah, he’s going to prison, but (we were hoping for the maximum sentence).”
Crutsinger implied that the drawn out nature of this case has been the hardest thing to bear, having to wait since 2009 to finally receive closure on the subject.
“It’s really, really hard,” he said. “I’m glad the trial’s over, finally. But it’s been five and a half years.”
On the other side of the aisle, Hoskins’ family was equally upset that this case had taken so long to go to court. Mark Hoskins – Timothy’s brother and a witness in the trial – told the Index he was unhappy with the way things played out.
“I feel that the (District Attorney) Mike Burns used character witnesses to vilify Tim,” he said. “If Tim was a vicious predator, why did it take five years for the District Attorney to get a resolution?
“If he was so bad, why would you allow someone that you would assume is a predator (to be) loose on society? In a sense, Mike Burns is just as guilty, himself.”
Burns, however, told the Index that he was “quite satisfied with the judge’s deliberation and his sentence.” He added that by not telling the Crutsinger boys “no” when they asked to shower with him, Hoskins neglected his responsibility as an adult and needed to face the consequences.
“Obviously, conduct of this nature is never okay when it involves a child,” he said. “We as adults have a responsibility – even if it’s not our own child – to ensure the safety of that child.
“To engage in behavior that exploits and takes advantage sexually of a child is not only against the law, but it’s just plain wrong.
“We abrogate our responsibility as adults when we victimize an innocent child.
“I hope that those who have a propensity toward victimizing children understand that my office will vigorously prosecute people who commit these crimes.”