Thursday, March 31, 2011

Goodbye to the Pervert Next Door

You know he's not the king of Bedside Manor
He's not the Tom Jones that lives next door
He's not the king of Bedside Manor
He hardly even lives there anymore...

"The King of Bedside Manor"
Barenaked Ladies

On March 21st one of our neighbors, Tim Jones, a local pervert and former Tom Jones Impersonator, pleaded guilty to six charges of Indecency With A Child, and one charge of Indecency By Sexual Contact. He received a sentence of ten years, with possibility of parole in five. He had been awaiting trial in the Hardin County jail since before Christmas.

Michelle and I, along with the victims and two other neigbors, were there that day as witnesses for the prosecution. At the last minute a plea deal was made, and we were all spared from having to testify. It was the best possible outcome: justice had been served, and one less sexual predator would be roaming our neighborhood. Finally we could all breath a collective sigh of relief. David Sheffield, our County Prosecuter, deserves thanks and kudos for bringing this case to a successful conclusion.

Mr. Jones was first arrested on sexual indecency charges back in 2008. Since then he had been out on bond until new charges led to his re-arrest and revocation of his bond in 2010. We were to be witnesses at his trial because after his first arrest several of us had provided the sheriff with statements detailing our own experiences with Mr. Jones - disturbing incidents in which he had sexually propositioned us, exposed himself, and engaged in "peeping tom" behavior. Some of these incidents predated his arrest by several years.

So prior to his first arrest I had my suspicions about him, and had even gone so far as to check the Texas Sex Offender Registry to see if he was listed there. Until we learned of his arrest we had remained quiet about our own unsettling experiences with him in order to maintain peace in the neighborhood and out of fear of retaliation, but when we found out children were involved we knew we had to come forward and make a statement.

After that initial arrest he remained out on bond awaiting trial, and we tried to avoid contact with him and his wife, who was supportive of his claims of innocence at that time, while making sure that our other neighbors were aware of the danger. Quite often we could hear the sounds of children playing in his yard...

Unfortunately, while awaiting trial he was free to offend again, and had the opportunity to harm another child (I suspect there are probably other unknown victims who were afraid to come forward). Thank goodness there were a couple of kids brave enough to bring charges and testify against him in court. David Sheffield credited all of us with ultimately forcing Mr. Jones into a guilty plea. He said it was because we always showed up at every hearing. They had hoped we would all just go away. We didn't.


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