|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - February 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Millionaire pedophile gets 20 years with guilty plea
Polk County Enterprise - February 2009
LIVINGSTON — Gerald Verne Campbell, 63, of The Woodlands pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child in district court and was sentenced to 25 years in state prison, Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon said Tuesday. Campbell faced similar charges in Montgomery County and investigators are looking into a Harris County incident that has only recently been reported. The Polk County charges stem from an incident in March 2007 when Campbell molested a 9-year-old girl at his weekend home in the Goodrich area. The case was set for trial Feb. 9 but when Investigator Mark Jones and Hon were issuing subpoenas for witnesses scheduled to testify when they identifi ed another potential victim. Harris County investigators are now working to determine whether another female child has been victimized. “In the midst of these developments, the defendant overdosed on pills the night before the trial,” Hon said. Campbell was taken to a Conroe area hospital. Just before he was discharged he suffered a heart attack. “At that point his attorney approached us about pleading guilty in exchange for a 20- year sentence — which is what we had offered him before proceeding to trial,” Hon said. “His situation was becoming considerably worse as time went on — as well as his health. They decided they were ready to punt.” Hon discussed the sentencing agreement with the victim and her guardian and they were happy that she could avoid testifying. Campbell has never been married, has no children and lived with an elderly aunt that supported him fi nancially and set him up in business, Hon said. “He was wealthy, actually a millionaire. He drove around in a Jaguar and was the CEO of a business‚ Seastream Water Purifi cation, that sold to offshore drilling rigs,” Hon said. Campbell was acquainted with the victim’s family and purchased a weekend camp house right next door to the little girl and her family. He befriended them and gained their confidence, Hon said. Campbell bought her gifts including a puppy and took her on fun outings. Law enforcement officials were first alerted about Campbell’s suspicious behavior when he took the victim to a nail salon in League City while on an overnight trip to the dog track in Galveston County, according to Hon. Nail technicians were concerned about how affectionate Campbell was toward the little girl and they called the police. During an interview with League City investigators the girl described sexual contact too graphic for publication. Investigators contacted Montgomery County law enforcement officers and they prepared a case detailing offenses that occurred in their jurisdiction. Polk County was the third jurisdiction to become involved but the first to reach the trial stage. Harris County just became the fourth. Montgomery County has decided not to proceed for their case set for trial next month, given Campbell’s 20- year sentence. Hon said Campbell will be required to serve 10 years before being considered for parole, but sex offenders are typically serving about 85 percent of their sentence before being granted parole. Campbell will be 80 years old when 85 percent of his sentence is served. “I will be surprised if he survives his sentence. They just don’t parole sex offenders,” Hon said. “They have to get unanimous approval from the Board of Pardons and Paroles.” Hon said unfortunately cases involving children who have been sexually assaulted more often parallel Campbell’s as opposed to a predator who is unknown to the victim. He used his financial wherewithal to gain access to little kids, according to Hon. In most cases, the predator has worked to gain the trust of the victim’s family and in this case his financial security helped create the impression that he was trustworthy.