Marfa man charged with sexual abuse of children

Sentinel/International staff

MARFA – A Marfa man remains jailed on $500,000 in bonds, charged last week with two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child.

According to the criminal complaint, Carl Robert Poenisch Jr. sexually abused two young persons during many encounters over many years between 2000 and 2009.

A longtime Marfa resident, Poenisch worked for the Texas A&M Forest Service. He served as a Task Force Leader in Fort Stockton and a Regional Fire Coordinator in Alpine before that.

He is no longer with the agency, and was terminated on Monday, September 17, the forest service said.

The case came to light when Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez was contacted by a California sheriff’s office, according to the complaint. In May, California authorities interviewed a young person who stated they had been sexually abused by Poenisch for several years.

Dominguez called Texas Ranger Jeffrey J. Vajdos, and a joint investigation began.

The Ranger interviewed the young person, “victim#1,” on September 5th, who confirmed the California sheriff’s information, and provided the name and telephone number of another alleged victim, according to the complaint.

“Victim #2” was interviewed by Vajdos on September 7th , and the victim also reported being sexually abused by Poenisch, the complaint states. On September 10, Poenisch was interviewed by Vajdos at the DPS office in Alpine, where Poenisch “initially denied any allegation of sexual assault or sexual contact with a child,” according to the complaint. “During the continued interview and interrogation, Carl Robert Poenisch Jr. confessed to having sexual contact . . . with Victim #1 and Victim #2.”

Presidio County Justice of the Peace David Beebe set $250,000 bond on each charge.

The charges are first degree felonies, and if found guilty, a defendant faces up to life in prison or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 5 years.