In the latest case of a Rock Hill convicted felon and sex offender, who is described as a serial peeping Tom, the end Wednesday was the same as always – a prison sentence.
Not much prison time, though. Two years.
Travis Cousar has spent much of his adult life, since 1998, in prison for drug and property crimes, and some crimes of violence. The last two times it was for peeping and voyeurism.
The problem for women who live in Rock Hill is that when Travis Cousar is not in prison, he is accused, and now has been convicted three times, of peeping at young girls and women.
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“He has done this repeatedly – he won’t change,” said Jessica Holland, the 16th Circuit assistant solicitor who prosecuted Cousar this time in court.
Cousar has been suspected of peeping incidents for years, police have said. This time he peeped at the neighbor next door to where he lives with his mother.
Cousar threw a blanket over a sharp fence in November, climbed over and stood right there. The terrified neighbor with two children looked out and saw Cousar staring at her as she tried to get dressed to go to work. She picked him out of a police lineup.
Cousar has been in jail ever since and Wednesday pleaded guilty.
The two-year sentence is a start, but more strict punishment for repeat offenders who refuse to stop scaring women is needed, said the victim. She said she plans to contact state legislators.
The Herald is not naming her because she is the victim of a sex crime.
The victim had to have relatives stay with her out of fear or stay elsewhere after Cousar’s latest debauchery. The woman even is going to move – victimized in her purse, too.
“I am living with this crime, the consequences,” the victim said in an interview after court. “He’s a repeat offender. Repeat peepers need to get more time.”
Under the law, Cousar faced only a maximum of three years in prison after pleading guilty. Technically, Cousar didn’t even admit guilt, again, after he pleaded guilty in what is called an Alford plea. In an Alford plea, the defendant acknowledges that he would likely be convicted and accepts punishment, but he does not have to say, “I am guilty.”
So Cousar, 34, didn’t.
He didn’t say he was guilty the last time he went to prison, either. He pleaded no contest.
And Cousar’s lawyer even said in court that Cousar, despite repeat sex offenses and the requirement that he register as a sex offender, is engaged to be married with hopes to turn his life around after prison.
Dan Hall, the judge, had serious questions about Cousar’s pattern of behavior. In Cousar’s 2014 conviction, he was looking at a female teenager in a bathroom when caught.
Yet Cousar’s lawyer and family said in court there is not a problem with Cousar being mentally incompetent or unable to understand the offense he keeps getting convicted of – peeping at women.
Hall, the judge, ordered a permanent restraining order barring Cousar from any contact with the latest victim.
So when court finished Wednesday, the result was the same as it has been before. Travis Cousar is headed to prison, while another terrified victim deals with the fallout from his crime.