April 16, 2005

Ex-principal guilty of sexual abuse, sentenced to 15 years

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Associated Press

TYLER, Texas - A former East Texas principal was convicted of sexually assaulting seven girls and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

A jury on Thursday sentenced Russell Thomas Hirner, 43, after deliberating for about four hours. He was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child earlier in the day.

"I accept responsibility," Hirner, the former principal of the Longview Baptist Christian Academy, testified. "I couldn't bring myself to tell and I vowed to God that after it came out I'd make a disclosure."

Prosecutors had pushed for life in prison.

"You are not doing this to Russell Hirner; Russell Hirner did this to himself and his family," Rusk County District Attorney Michael Jimerson told jurors in closing arguments.

Posted by kshaw at April 16, 2005 08:32 AM