Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

November 26, 2012

Dauben’s sexual assault trial set for January

31-year-old blogger with local ties awaits court date in Navarro County

Athens — WAXAHACHIE — An Ellis County jury on Wednesday found Joseph Dauben, 31, guilty of fraudulent use of identifying information.

The former web blog and online newspaper publisher was accused of publishing personal information about an individual and encouraging harmful acts against the individual.

The jury recommended a punishment of community supervision with a possible one year in prison and a $2,400 fine.

On Thursday, Ellis County Judge Bob Carroll of the 40th Judicial District Court sentenced Dauben to five years community supervision pending his release from confinement. His sentence and fine are on suspension unless he violates his probation terms.

However, Dauben will not be released on probation, because he has charges pending conviction in Navarro County. The Ellis County Sheriff's Office will transfer him to Navarro County, where he will await his trial scheduled for Jan. 7 on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, and one count of indecency with a child, all second-degree felonies.

In the Ellis County case against Dauben, District and County Attorney Patrick Wilson showed evidence that Dauben had listed a victim’s full legal name, date of birth and place of employment and encouraged harmful acts against him, acts worthy of a state felony charge.

Wilson quoted comments Dauben made on his blog including, “I swear someone will die if you touch either of those two girls again […] Some day someone will take justice into their own hands and put a stop to this continued crime.”

Wilson interviewed the victim on the stand and asked him how all of these threats and comments Dauben made him feel. The victim responded, “I was afraid someone was going to come after me or harm my family.”

Lt. Rick Florez with the Red Oak Police Department testified that the victim’s ex-wife had accused him several times of molestation and each time had their children brought to the Ellis County Child Advocacy Center (Gingerbread House) for a forensic interview.

“About the second or third time, in four months they (Gingerbread House) said they wouldn’t do anymore interviews due to the prolonged trauma of subjecting the girls to investigation and questioning,” Florez said. “When the boyfriend (of the ex-wife) filed the fourth complaint we began investigating them for false reports.”

Attorney Damon Fehler stated in Dauben’s defense that Dauben had published an apology letter on the blog after finding that the ex-wife was under investigation for the false accusations.

“Sure he made an apology, after (the victim’s) attorney told him to stop,” Wilson argued. “But the harm had already been done.”

Fehler said that the ex-wife was the one guilt of fraudulent use of identifying information by supplying it to Dauben who published the information on his online blog, the Ellis County Observer. Wilson contended that Dauben chose to publish the information online.

“This blog is owned by Joseph Dauben, all of the content on this website goes through his fingers and into cyberspace. He was supplied that information in an offline interview and put it online,” he said.

In his closing remarks, Wilson said that Dauben was not a newspaper publisher reporting a news article, but a vigilante holding a diatribe against the victim on the Ellis County Observer blog.

“This is a guy in Mabank, Texas hiding behind a computer in grandma’s house calling for a ‘public execution […] only amplified by my own comments,’” Wilson said, quoting Dauben. “If you type (the victim’s) name and city into a search engine this is what you will find. Dauben intended to harm his reputation, standing in the community and cause physical harm.”

The jury had the option of setting Dauben’s punishment at a maximum of five years in prison or minimum of 180 days with the option of probation, because it was Dauben’s first felony charge.

Wilson encouraged the jury to give Dauben probation, but assess a maximum punishment of five years and a fine of $5,000 to “force him to be a productive member of society.”

“Give him the maximum hammer to hang over his head, so if he violates his supervision the court has the flexibility to give him up to the maximum five years. If you give him the minimum sentence of 180 days, no matter how he breaks his supervision, even if he commits another crime, the court can only give him 180 days jail time. And I suggest a hefty fine, at least $5,000 to obligate him to get out of grandmother’s house and work and be a productive member of society.”

Dauben’s probation comes with a laundry list of conditions, most of them forbidding him to use the Internet for anything except employment-related searches and email. He has to submit to email monitoring at his own expense, and delete all social media, blog and web sites he owns.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 2726192_300x300.jpg Darin Karl found Thursday on Cedar Creek Lake

    The body of a 42-year-old man who had been missing in Cedar Creek Lake was recovered on Thursday.
    The drowning victim was identified as Darin Lynn Karl of Kemp. According to Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt, Karl and his nephew were fishing near Cedar Creek Country Club when the boat overturned, ejecting the men. 

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AISD approves moving monthly meeting, additional drug testing

    Discussion on meal prices for the 2014-15 school year was pulled from Thursday's Athens Independent School District Board of Trustees agenda but other items were approved that will bring about change in the district.
    By unanimous decision, the school board approved changes to the scheduled date for its monthly meetings; additional drug testing on the high school campus and modification to the graduation policy.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 drugs.tif Prescription Drug Take Back Day April 26

    On Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Athens Police Department and Keep Athens Beautiful will host the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, giving the public its seventh opportunity in four years to prevent pill abuse and theft.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • ADR logo.tif Feud between Tool VFDs extends to city council

    The two volunteer fire departments in Tool have been dueling for 11 years. The feud between the two departments started in 2003, when the citizens of Tool voted to establish Emergency Service District No. 4. According to reports, this was about the same time the Tool Volunteer Fire Department was established.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Would Lake Athens residents suffer if city controls water?

    Members of Lake Athens Property Owners Association have been watching the dispute between the City of Athens and the Athens Municipal Water Authority uncertain of how this will affect their future.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Hot issue

    The two volunteer fire departments in Tool have been dueling for 11 years. The feud between the two departments started in 2003, when the citizens of Tool voted to establish Emergency Service District No. 4. According to reports, this was about the same time the Tool Volunteer Fire Department was established.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Surplus property to be moved or demolished

    Athens Independent School District purchased property at 404 Royall Street during its March school board meeting with the intent to square off property previously purchased by the district.
    During Thursday's school board meeting, a unanimous decision was made to designate the property as surplus and advertise the home to be moved or demolished.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0077.JPG Taste of Home Cooking School

    The Taste of Home Cooking School was held Thursday at the Cain Center. Hundreds attended the events that was sponsored by Cole A/C and the Athens Daily Review.
     

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • ADR logo.tif City, AMWA differ on future management of water supply

    The 57-year relationship between the Athens Municipal Water Authority and the City of Athens grew stormy in 2013 because of a disagreement over who should pay certain bills.
    The difference-of-opinion led to the Authority filing suit against the city last December, and the city responding by setting the wheels in motion that slated a May 10 election to decide whether to abolish AMWA.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 Easter.jpg Excited and ready

    Lexie and Isabella Hawkins are excited and ready for the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at 9 a.m. in Kiwanis Park.  Bicycles, rabbits and lots of Easter Eggs will be waiting for you. Everyone is welcome, and of course the Easter Bunny will be there.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo