In 2011, a Wise County jury gave a convicted sex offender probation instead of prison time.
But it looks like William E. Sparks will be going to prison after all.
Sparks, 53, was found guilty in December 2011 of sexual assault of a child. After hours of deliberation, the jury chose to give him 10 years probation and to have him register as a sex offender instead of sentencing him to prison.
Late last month, Sparks was arrested in Decatur for allegedly violating multiple terms of his probation.
The violations include having unsupervised conduct with any minor children under 17 and failure to attend or participate in sex offender program recommended by the court. Sparks, formerly of Newark, was living in the 100 block of Gunnison Court in Azle at the time of his recent arrest.
Sparks committed the original offense during a hunting and camping trip to the LBJ Grasslands in November 2009. The victim testified that as she was sleeping, she awoke to find Sparks sexually assaulting her. She was 14 years old at the time.
Sparks pleaded not guilty to the charge despite an audio recording, produced by the state, of him admitting the offense to an investigator with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office.
In the recording, Sparks said the juvenile victim initiated the contact and blamed the incident on her. During the punishment phase, the state brought in two female witnesses who both relayed stories of how they had been groped by the defendant.
The jury could have given Sparks anywhere from two to 20 years. The defense argued that Sparks needed probation instead of prison time so he could be free to provide for his young son and to seek the treatment necessary for rehabilitation.
Sparks is currently in Wise County Jail with no bond set. He’s scheduled to go before Judge John Fostel on the morning of Tuesday, April 30, for revocation of his probation.