NEW ORLEANS — A man was indicted by a grand jury Thursday for raping a girl at least twice, starting when she was 11 years old.
According to the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, 48-year-old Tharon McDowell is charged with one count of first-degree rape and one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. He faces a lifetime prison term if found guilty of the rape charge.
McDowell was arrested Sept. 5, 2018 after text messages revealed the sexual abuse.
According to the DA’s office, the alleged rape occurred between Jan. 13, 2013 and Jan. 12, 2015. At the time, the victim was between the ages of 11 and 13. The carnal knowledge offense is alleged to have occurred between Jan. 13, 2015 and Aug. 31, 2018 when the victim was between the ages of 13 and 16.
The sexual abuse is believed to have occurred in at least two homes, one in Gentilly and one in New Orleans East, the DA’s office says.
McDowell gained access to the victim by a friendship with the girl’s family.
As of Thursday afternoon, McDowell remained at-large after being freed from posting a $7,500 bond. A new bond was set at $125,000 after the indictment was read.