A Rolla man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl was sentenced to seven years in prison earlier this month.
According to the Phelps County Prosecutor’s Office, 19-year-old Damon L. Downer pleaded guilty to the charge of deviate sexual assault, a class C felony, in the Pulaski County Circuit Court Oct. 9.
Downer admitted to subjecting the 14-year-old victim to deviate sexual contact in Rolla on May 9, 2013, without her consent.
Phelps County Senior Assistant Prosecutor John Garrabrant explained that because of Downer’s age, the prosecution was required to prove that the victim did not consent to the contact.
“Statutory sodomy, where consent of the victim is not relevant, only applies when the victim is between 14 and 17 and the defendant is over 21,” Garrabrant said. “Charging sexual assault requires that the state prove the additional element of lack of consent. However, evidence supporting lack of the victim’s consent in this case was clear.”
25th Circuit Judge William Hickle sentenced Downer to seven years in the Missouri Department of Downer will be required to complete an intensive sexual offender treatment program in prison before he is eligible for parole. After his release, Downer will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.