Millionaire Marsh indicted on sex assault charges
AMARILLO, Texas (AP) - A Texas grand jury indicted eccentric millionaire artist Stanley Marsh 3 on charges that he sexually assaulted six teenagers, according to documents released to his attorneys Thursday.
Marsh was indicted Wednesday on four counts of sexual assault of a child, eight counts of sexual performance by a child, and two counts of indecency with a child. His attorneys have denied the allegations.
If convicted, Marsh, the son of an oil tycoon, faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000 on each of the felony counts. Special prosecutor Matt Powell said Wednesday that Marsh would be eligible for probation because he has no felony convictions.
The allegations date to before Marsh suffered a massive stroke in 2011. Marsh has also been treated for prostate cancer, and his wife is now his legal guardian.
Marsh turned himself in at the Potter County Detention Center on Thursday afternoon and was released after posting $100,000 bond.
Powell declined to comment Thursday.
The indictments are "mere allegations," two of Marsh's attorneys, Paul Nugent and Heather Peterson, said in a prepared statement.
"There should be no premature rush to judgment," the statement said. "Now that we have notice of the specific allegations, we will commence our investigation, which will be thorough and rigorous. We have great faith in our legal system, and welcome the challenge of exposing the truth, and defending our friend and client, Mr. Marsh."
The indictments include four additional alleged victims who were not part of criminal charges filed in November.
Marsh, who is probably best known for sponsoring the pop art landmark "Cadillac Ranch" in the early 1970s, settled civil lawsuits in February involving 10 teenagers who alleged he paid them for sex.
Marsh has been free on bond since he turned himself in on a November arrest warrant for six counts of child sexual assault and five counts of sexual performance of a child. Those allegations involved a 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old.
A statement from his lawyers then noted the accusers had filed civil suits "seeking millions of dollars" and that they had waited to come forward until after Marsh's stroke.
"Cadillac Ranch" along Interstate 40 near Amarillo features 10 Cadillacs buried nose down. The cars, including a 1948 club coupe and a 1963 sedan, were gathered from junkyards, private collectors and used car lots. Visitors over the years have splattered them with graffiti, and in 2005 they were coated in pink to honor breast cancer victims, survivors and their families.
Marsh, who uses the Arabic numeral `3' in his legal name, also has painted them black and yellow to honor the passing of longtime friends.
This is not the first time Marsh has been accused of sexual misconduct. In 2001, four lawsuits against Marsh that alleged imprisonment, sexual misconduct and harassment of teens were settled. No other details were made public.
In 1998, Marsh pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of unlawful restraint and criminal trespassing as part of an agreement that dismissed five felony charges including kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and indecency with a child. He served 10 days in jail and paid $4,000 in fines.
In 1996, Marsh settled a lawsuit with a youth who claimed Marsh sexually abused him.
In the latest case, Powell, the Lubbock County district attorney, was appointed special prosecutor after the district attorney for Potter County recused himself. Powell has said the settlement in the civil cases won't affect the criminal prosecution.
The civil suits alleged Marsh gave teenage boys cash, alcohol, drugs and in one case, two BMWs, to perform sex acts with him during secret encounters at his office. In one of the civil cases, a teenager claimed he had more than 100 sexual encounters with Marsh in his office and Toad Hall home in Amarillo.
Amarillo police say that they found evidence in Marsh's downtown offices that corroborated "the accounts of sexual exploitation of minors." Police seized computers, couch cushion covers, a photo of a nude male and signed confidentiality agreements, among other things, according to a search warrant inventory report.
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