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LIBERTY – The missing defendant on trial for the sexual assault of a young girl in Cleveland, Texas, was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He was also hit with a $10,000 fine.

Thursday, Eric McGowen was the first adult convicted in that assault of an 11-year-old girl over a four-month period in 2010.

Reports say McGowen walked out of a Liberty County courthouse Wednesday.  He has not been seen since. The court proceedings continued despite his absence.

McGowen is one of 20 people who are accused of brutally sexually assaulting the girl.  Reports say 14 adults and six juveniles assaulted her

An arrest warrant has been issued for McGowen.  His original $25,000 bond was upped to $250,000.

A gag order prevents attorneys on both sides from speaking about the trial.

Fugitive Gets 99 Years For Part In Sexual Assault Of 11-Year-Old Girl In Cleveland  was originally published on