Morrison pleads No Contest to Indecency With A Child by Contact

Must register for life as a sex offender

by Jim Powers, Tyler County Booster Editor—with reporting by Emily Waldrep

John Paul Morrison, 69, of Woodville pled No Contest in a Hardin County court to Indecency with a Child by Contact and received five years deferred adjudication probation. The charge, and the ultimately accepted plea, stems from an August 17, 2011, indictment by a Tyler County Grand Jury. He was back in court in Tyler County Thursday, January 30, to take care of the probation part of the requirements because he lives in Tyler County.

"He will get five years of deferred adjudication, which is basically the same thing as probation, except with the condition that when you complete the probation successfully then the charge will be dismissed at the end, and there won't be a conviction," Assistant District Attorney Dan Hunt explained. Hunt went on to say that there are special conditions due to the nature of the offense.

"Morrison will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, even after the case and after he completes deferred adjudication, and the case is dismissed, he still has to register as a sex offender." Morrison must also take a polygraph test every six months to make sure he is abiding by the judge's order.

According to Woodville Police Sergeant Jathan Borel, who originally investigated the case in 2011, a child made an outcry to family members that Morrison had called him into his bedroom to look at a stuffed animal, and proceeded to engage in indecent activities with the child. At the time, the child was too afraid to speak out about the incident.

Borel obtained a search warrant for the home and found an oddly placed stuffed animal in the top of Morrison's closet and determined that the child's story of the incident was accurate. The child also started to have disciplinary problems at school, and suffered from falling grades as a result of the trauma. The case then went to the Grand Jury resulting in the indictment.

The case was ultimately handled outside of Tyler County, according to the Tyler County District Attorney's office because, as a result of legal conflicts within their office, a special prosecutor was appointed to oversee the case. The case was later heard in Hardin County by a District Judge from Liberty County.