Tristen Lonnie Preslar

Tristen Lonnie Preslar

BELTON — A Belton man was sentenced Monday for a sexual assault of a child charge and a burglary at Lake Belton High School.

Tristen Lonnie Mitchell Preslar, 20, received a five-year sentence in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s institutional division for the sexual assault of a child younger than 17 and one year in a state jail for the burglary. Preslar was sentenced in the 27th District Court with Judge John Gauntt presiding.

Preslar entered a guilty plea July 8 to both charges.

The sentence for the sexual assault charge — a second-degree felony — could have ranged from two to 20 years but, through a plea deal with the Bell County District Attorney’s Office, Gauntt could have sentenced Preslar to a maximum of 15 years in the Texas Department of Corrections, First Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Newell said Monday.

The victim’s mother appeared in court on behalf of her daughter, who was 14 at the time of the sexual assault. She testified her daughter tried to overdose two days after the sexual assault, has panic attacks and is afraid to be alone with men, among other things. She asked for Preslar to get the full 15 year sentence.

Preslar’s mother lives in Alaska but was in the courtroom as well. She talked about her son’s rough childhood. She asked for her son to be punished, but not for 15 years.

When told the victim didn’t remember everything that happened that night, Preslar’s mother said, “I hope that’s a godsend to her.”

The sexual assault occurred on Oct. 19, 2019, at a West Temple community park when the victim became intoxicated. The assault stopped when Preslar thought he saw a police car, an arrest affidavit said.

No plea agreement was made for the burglary charge, a state jail offense, Newell said. The possible sentence range was from 180 days to two years, according to the Texas Penal Code.

Preslar broke into Lake Belton High School on Oct. 25, 2019. Preslar said he and a friend climbed onto the school’s roof, went through an open hatch and went into a locked electrical room, where he stole tools. The tools were later found at a pawn shop.

Preslar was represented by attorneys Steve Lee on the sexual assault charge and Stephen DeBye for the burglary charge, according to court records.

Lee and DeBye both argued that Preslar had no prior felony or misdemeanor convictions and said he was a good candidate for rehabilitation. Lee asked for 10 years deferred adjudication for his client.

Prosecuting both cases was Assistant District Attorney Debbie Garrett.