LIBERTY, Texas -- Eric McGowen, the convicted rapist of an 11-year-old Cleveland, Texas, girl, was arrested Tuesday morning, according to the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force. McGowen slipped out of a Liberty County courthouse last month on the first day of his gang rape trial.
McGowen never went too far. He was apparently hiding out with a family member who confessed to his whereabouts during a traffic stop. The officers learned he was at an apartment on Greens Parkway and moved in quickly to grab him. He was arrested and handcuffed while sitting on the toilet, task force officers told KHOU 11 News.
McGowen was the first of 14 adults accused of raping the pre-teen to stand trial. Investigators said the sexual assaults occurred during a nearly three-month span in 2010. Six juveniles also were charged.
After two co-defendants who pleaded guilty in the case testified against him, McGowen left the courthouse during an afternoon break and began hiding out.
Despite his absence, the trial continued. The victim, who is now 13, took the stand to describe what happened to her.
The girl told jurors that McGowen, 20, took her to a house where she had sex with multiple males.
She briefly broke down in tears as jurors were shown a few minutes of video of an alleged October 2010 sexual assault in a house in Cleveland, a small southeast Texas town where she and the defendants lived.
She said she was brought into what she described as the “baby room” in the house, and that McGowen and others took turns having sex with her. She also told jurors that McGowen used a beer bottle on her during another incident.
On August 30, jurors sentenced McGowen to 99 years and a $10,000 fine for aggravated sexual assault.
The Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force is a group of officers from several different agencies, which include the Harris County Sheriff's Office, Texas Rangers, Houston Police Department and U. S. Marshals.