A California man pleaded guilty on Tuesday for his role in a disturbing multi-defendant child sexual abuse case that was facilitated by the then-11-year-old victim’s own mother.
Brent Cox, 42, was the last of three adults to face legal culpability for including the girl in a so-called “throuple,” or three-person sexual relationship, with his wife Jillian Cox, 38, and his girlfriend, Tammy Schreiner, 40, according to Fresno, California-based ABC affiliate KFSN.
All three were charged with numerous offenses in 2021.
Jillian Cox and Schreiner, the mother of the now-12-year-old girl, previously accepted plea deals and were scheduled to testify against Brent Cox if he had gone to trial. In exchange for taking his own deal, he now faces up to 18 years in prison, the TV station reported.
“This is one of those situations where she was traumatized for years and she’s doing better now and we really don’t want to have her relive those bad circumstances,” Fresno County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Janz said. “And we made this plea deal in conjunctions with talking to the family.”
Cox and Schreiner will receive their sentences at more or less the same time next month, KSFN reports. The male defendant will also avoid ever being charged over similar allegations involving a 6-year-old female relative from 2010.
According to the TV station, the latest victim’s family members confirmed they were in agreement with the prosecution’s decision to put an early end to the proceedings against the final defendant.
“There are details that are too horrific to discuss,” Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Brandon Purcell said at the time of the arrests in February 2021. “It’s tragic for our victim.”
Investigators believe the overall goal was to make the child Brent Cox’s “third” wife.
“This had been ongoing,” Purcell continued. “We think there’s been grooming going on for months. We have information going back to May . The way these predators groom children is to get them to believe things are happening that are not. That’s the case with Mr. Cox. He’s the definition of a predator that we see.”
Authorities say Brent Cox sexually abused the girl for months with help from the victim’s mother.
According to KFSN, Schreiner, Brent Cox’s longtime girlfriend, was initially, and publicly, adamant that nothing untoward had occurred.
An initial staff report by the TV station says:
The child’s mother commented on the Action News Facebook post about Cox, claiming he didn’t do anything to her daughter, and that they are ‘false charges and accusations trumped up by my ex and his wife’.
We reached out to the child’s mother, and she agreed to speak with us but when we arrived, she was already in handcuffs.
Late last month, Schreiner was the second adult to take a plea deal in the unusual child sexual abuse case.
“She’s been held accountable for exposing her daughter to this terrible situation,” Janz said at the time.
According to The Fresno Bee, the girl’s mother pleaded no contest to lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and child abuse endangerment. She faces up to eight years in prison for her role in the ongoing abuse.
Jillian Cox was the first to plead guilty. She took a deal for four years of probation in October of last year.
Brent Cox technically faces up to 40 years in prison but Superior Court of Fresno County Judge David Gottlieb has reportedly signaled the defendant will likely receive less than half that much time.
Sentencing is currently slated for Sept. 14, 2022.
[image: Brent Cox via Fresno County Sheriff’s Office; Tammy Schreiner via screengrab/KFSN]
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