A 32-year-old man was recently sentenced to prison following his February conviction on charges he molested two young girls at Schlitterbahn back in 2013.
A Comal County Jury on Feb. 25 convicted Mitchell Anthony Childers of Rising Star, on two counts of indecency with a child by contact. On June 25, Dib Waldrip, 433rd District Court justice, sentenced Childers to two, 12-year terms in the Texas Department of Corrections, with both terms running concurrently.
Criminal District Attorney Jennifer Tharp said on June 6, 2013, Childers was at Schlitterbahn with family members and separated himself from his group.
“Per the investigation, he eyed a group of children in the Torrent river area and began playing with the two girls, ages 7 and 8, in the waves,” she said. “The victims testified that the defendant held their arms and when the waves would hit he would touch them between their legs inappropriately.
“The girls were able to get away from Childers and reported the incident to their mothers, who identified Childers (wearing a Hawaiian hula shirt) and alerted law enforcement immediately.”
Childers, then 26, was arrested by New Braunfels police on one count of child indecency, and was released the following day on $75,000 bond. A second, similar charge stemming from the same incident filed in May 2016 led to Childers’ second arrest and subsequent release after he posted another $75,000 bond.
It took until last February for Childers to finally face trial, where Tharp said prosecutors played a tape of his 2013 interview with New Braunfels Police Department Detective Richard Groff.
“When asked by Det. Groff why he thought he was arrested, the defendant responded: ‘Probably just molesting or something,’” Tharp said. “The defendant continued, “My hand was probably just at the hips level — maybe the belly — so if my fingers did grab on to... between the legs...maybe. Probably ask the girls on that one. It’s not what I was concentrating on.’”
After his conviction Childers, who had no prior convictions, remained free on bond during the punishment phase for the second-degree felonies that carry between 2 and 20 years in prison.
“Childers will be required to serve half of his sentence before being eligible for parole,” Tharp said. “This case was investigated by the New Braunfels Police Department and prosecuted by Kiera Kilday and Allison Buess.
“Our office would like to thank Schlitterbahn for actively participating in the prosecution, and especially to the girls and their mothers for speaking out and confronting their predator.”