PARIS, TX – Local residents and others are seeking financial assistance for the legal defense of a Paris man accused of sexual assault in a case civil rights activists state is one of several that illustrates racism within the town’s criminal justice system. Bobby Yates, a 51 year-old African American Paris resident, who lost his lower limbs in a hunting accident over two decades ago and who is also paralyzed, is set to stand trial this month for the alleged sexual assault of a 16 year-old white female, who came to his home with two adult white males at 2 a.m. on March 18, 2008.
Yates called 911 for help and can be heard on a 911 tape on the morning of the alleged incident, stating the group beat him and requesting police help with forcing them to leave his home.
Local activists allege a police report filed in the incident states instead that the female was the one to make the call to 911. They also suggest that the arrest report purposely includes a photo of Yates which may lead one to believe that he is standing up and leaves blank the question of height and scars.
They state that on another report, a height of 5”9” is listed. Activists also claim that accompanying information did not disclose his amputation information or his penectomy resulting from complications after the amputation.
A gag order has reportedly been issued in the case, and related records sealed. This is a concern for those attempting to help Yates with raising funds for his defense due to the inability to obtain and verify information about the case.
Yates is scheduled for jury selection May 18, 2011. Trial is scheduled to begin May 26, 20011. His court appointed attorney filed a motion to withdraw as attorney of record, after Yates refused to accept a plea.
Yates recently found an attorney willing to represent him; however, activists say funds are needed to help with his defense. A call has also been issued for people to support Yates’ right to an open and fair trial by peacefully attending the trial at the Lamar County Courthouse on May 26, 2011 where the trial is scheduled to begin.