Jurors Deliberating Texas Prison Sex Abuse Case

Staff Report
The Associated Press

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - Jurors have begun deliberating in the trial of a former West Texas youth prison principal accused of sexually abusing inmates in 2004 and 2005.

John Paul Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to charges in 11 indictments, including sexual assault, stemming from an investigation by Texas Rangers in 2005.

Hernandez's attorney has said the former inmates fabricated the allegations so they would be released.

If convicted, Hernandez faces up to 20 years in prison.

Last week, Hernandez testified in his own defense, spending more than eight hours on the witness stand. He denied his accusers' allegations and told jurors the young men lied about him sexually abusing them in darkened classrooms, closets and storage units at the West Texas State School in Pyote. The school closed last summer.