Matthew Gates has been found guilty of seven charges of sexual abuse by a custodian.
Gates was arrested last year in January for two alleged sexual abuse incidents, one in 2012, and another in 2015. Both of these cases reportedly took place at the Dallas Pike Campground.
“Mr. Gates committed some pretty horrific crimes, and will not have that opportunity to continue to do so, but most of all for the victim in this matter it represents justice for her,” said investigator Lt. Doug Ernest of the Ohio County Sheriff’s office.
The victim told the court on Tuesday that she never willingly participated in any acts with Gates, which she said began when she was just 13-years-old.
“Did Matthew Gates ever touch you? Yes. Did it happen ages of 16? Yes ma’am. 17? Yes. More than once? Yes. About how many times? About twice a week, maybe three,” said the alleged victim.
She went on to say that she had a few chances over the years to report the incident to police, but never did because she was too afraid.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Shawn Turak said that this was “probably the most horrific case [I’ve] ever prosecuted.”
Turak said that, over the five years that Gates had contact with the victim, evidence shows that “he was repeatedly molesting her, and the acts were getting progressively worse and worse, to the point that some very, very horrible things were happening to her.”
“The verdict represents the product of an incredible investigation done by the sheriff’s department, in particular Lt. Ernest, who was the lead investigator in this case. It was a very tenacious, thorough, well-documented investigation and I think that investigation lead to this verdict,” Turak said.
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