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Child sex abuser sentenced to 40 years without parole

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Rontae Thornton, 38, of McKinney, received a sentence of 40 years without the possibility of parole for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, and sentences of 10 years each for Sexual Assault of a Child and Possession of Child Pornography, all to run concurrently, announced Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis.

Thornton met the victim when she was 7 years old, while he was dating her mother. When the victim was 13 years old, she woke up from a nap as Thornton was having sex with her. Thornton then developed a relationship with the victim, had sex with her twice a week and planned to run away with her. When the victim was 14, she became pregnant by Thornton and had an abortion. 

McKinney Police Sgt. Tony Spano stopped Thornton for a traffic violation on March 12, 2014, after observing Thornton and the victim leaving a motel around 2:30 am. Upon stopping Thornton’s car, Sergeant Spano formed reasonable suspicion that an improper relationship was occurring due to all the surrounding circumstances including time of night, leaving the hotel, differences in last names, and the disparity in age. During his investigation, Sergeant Spano found inappropriate text messages, photos and videos on Thornton’s phone. McKinney Police Detective Eric Stephens interviewed Thornton after the arrest and obtained a confession.

During the jury trial, after Sergeant Spano testified, Thornton elected to change his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty” and have the court assess punishment. 

The victim and Detective Stephens testified in the punishment phase of trial. Evidence showed that Thornton had child pornography on his phone of the victim as well as other children. Judge Richard Davis sentenced Thornton to 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole.  

Assistant District Attorneys Geeta Singletary and Daniel Lewis prosecuted the case, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Greg Bowers.