With a scratchy voice, Ted Arnold Meeker Jr., 61, pleaded guilty to the charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child in the 443rd Judicial District Court on Thursday.
The Crossville, Tennessee resident and former correctional officer accepted the plea agreement of 35 years in a state prison offered by the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office.
Meeker was initially charged with the continuous sexual abuse of a young child. However, the agreement allowed Meeker to accept a lesser charge after the victim and the family gave their acceptance to the offer in order to avoid a trial.
Judge Cindy Ermatinger provided family members with the chance to speak before the court before Meeker was taken to the jail.
The victim addressed the court about what she continues to go through each day.
“What you did to me was not right. I struggle with it every day,” the victim said. “I had such a hard time after being abused. I don’t trust anyone anymore except for my mom.”
Looking at Meeker, the victim told him that he would “never hurt another child again” and “hopes God serves you justice.”
The victim’s mother told the court Meeker’s actions affect her daughter each day.
“To state that this man is a monster is an understatement. My daughter had her childhood ripped away,” she said. “My precious daughter struggles in so many ways. She struggles to leave my side.”
The mother stated she was glad justice was served for her daughter and that Meeker would be taken away in handcuffs.
An Ellis County Grand Jury Indictment stated Meeker after they concluded there was enough evidence shown to prove he committed two or more acts of sexual abuse against the victim, who was younger than 14 years or younger from May 1 –Dec. 23, 2014. The Waxahachie Police Department arrested Meeker on Nov. 19, 2016.
Assistant District Attorney Grace Pandithurai stated the outcome of the case would allow the healing process to begin for the victim and her family. She said several factors were considered in the plea agreement.
"When I have a child that has been victimized by sexual abuse they have to testify if we go to forward to trial. I look at the age of the child and how old they will be when someone is eligible for parole," Pandithurai explained. "This person is in his late 60’s. So the lesser included plea would be just as just as a continuous. That keeps our kid off the stand and reliving it."
Pandithurai expressed her thanks to the work of the Waxahachie Police Department, who investigated the crime, as well as the continued support from the district attorney's office.
Pandithurai praised the victim’s courage to confront Meeker, describing it as “beautiful.”