Judge sentences former Harris County deputy to 17 years in sexual assault case

A former Harris County Sheriff's deputy convicted of sexual assault will now spend the next eight years behind bars and nine on probation after sentencing Thursday.

Victims and character witnesses took the stand before Judge Bobby Peters handed down the sentence for Tommy Pierson at about 3:30 p.m.

Pierson was convicted back in August on four out of the 12 charges after women came forward to accuse him of forcing them to perform sexual acts during traffic stops. The convictions include two counts on sexual assault on a person in custody, false imprisonment, tampering with evidence, and four counts of violation of oath of office.

One victim took the stand to detail how the incident with Pierson has changed her view of law enforcement.

"Before this incident, I trusted people in authority over me, I held the reputation of police officers in high regard," she said. "I could travel down highways and roads without concern for my personal safety from people who were sworn to protect me."

She also says she was forever scarred by the day she says Tommy Pierson stopped her and forced her to perform oral sex on the side of a Harris County road.

"You haven't lived this nightmare. Tommy Pierson was a predator with a badge," the victim says. "I want him to have years in prison. I want him to be listed as a sex offender, because that's what he did."

Another woman also stepped forward to explain how the assault changed the way she saw herself. She says she felt like "a pound of flesh" that was "up for grabs" by men who would expect sexual things from her.

"Are we all uniformly incapable of effectively saying no, or more likely is Tommy Pierson simply not capable of accepting it?" she asked to a silent courtroom.

Character witnesses for Pierson argued they believe he is remorseful for his actions.

Pierson's uncle David Pierson came forward saying, "I know in his heart he feels he has let us down... I hope the court can take into consideration [his accomplishments]."

Ministers also took the stand saying Pierson had called a meeting of "spiritual mentors and leaders" in his life to tell them what he had done.

"[He] was incredibly remorseful from the start," Amy Baxter testified. "We spent two hours in that chapel discussing the moral implications of what he had done, the spiritual implications of that, the practical implications of it."

When Pierson had his turn to take the stand, he cried heavily while he told the courtroom he was sorry for what he did.

"I take responsibility for my actions... I am sincerely sorry. I know I have let down so many people, including myself," he said. "I was raised to be a better man than I have been... My actions were the worst I've behaved in my life and that is not who I am. I'm sorry."

Judge Peters said he considered leniency for Pierson since he had no prior record, but refused the defense's plea for probation.

"This is not a probation case... This is not just a case of one incident with one lady and him having sex on duty, this is a pattern," he said.

The judge also commented on Pierson's claims that the encounters he had with the victims was consensual.

"You understand you kept saying 'well this is consensual, it's consensual'. A person in custody or being stopped when you're in uniform, you got a gun, you're in total control, then they can't give consent. Consent don't matter, it's irrelevant. If you have sexual intercourse with someone you have under your control and your custody, then you are guilty of a felony," Peters said.

In addition to Pierson's prison time and probation, he will be registered as a sex offender. Pierson has 30 days to appeal his sentence.

Georgia News

Alabama News

Latest Stories

Video Center