Man Tortured Minors in Family With Methods Used in Vietnam and Korean Wars

David Calhoun was convicted on several counts of abuse that were committed for six years across several Texas cities

<p>Cooke County Jail</p> David Calhoun

Cooke County Jail

David Calhoun

Content warning: The following article contains disturbing descriptions of child abuse.

  • David Calhoun was found guilty for sexually assaulting a child, aggravated assault on his victims and strangulation, according to reports

  • His wife Ashley Calhoun has been indicted as a co-defendant in the case

  • One child told authorities about the abuse, which included burning and pulling out nails with pliers, per court records

A Texas man has been sentenced for brutally abusing several children related to him by using torture techniques deemed by child policy expert Pamela Miller as “indistinguishable” from those seen in the Vietnam and Korean wars, authorities say.

David Calhoun, 38, was found guilty on five counts of sexual assault of a child, seven counts of aggravated assault and one count of assault strangulation, according to Cooke County District Attorney’s Office, KLTV, FOX 4 News and KETK report.

Authorities say he inflicted horrific abuse on several children when they lived with him in a trailer in Gainesville, Texas, FOX 4 News reports.

The abuse began in 2017 when he assumed care of some of the children and it continued until 2022 when he was arrested, according to KLTV, FOX 4 News and KETK.

In 2022, police in Nebraska found a 16-year-old child in a hotel room with adults when the teenager told authorities that he had escaped vicious physical and psychological torture from Calhoun, according to court documents cited by FOX 4 News. The child was reportedly unrelated to the adults in the room with him.

The teenager detailed horrific abuse that included being set on fire with gasoline, stabbing, beating and sexual violence, according to the documents, FOX 4 News reports.

The boy said Calhoun had used devices to burn his face and genitals almost everyday and used a plier to remove his nails, among other severe forms of abuse, according to court documents cited by FOX 4 News.

The reports did not detail the number of children who were abused. FOX 4 News reports there were adult victims as well.

Investigators say they eventually learned that the abuses took place across several cities in Texas, per FOX 4 News and KLTV.

Pamela Miller, a senior analyst on policies for children, claims the abuse Calhoun inflicted was “almost indistinguishable from the type of torture that POWs and political prisoners suffered during the Korean War and the Vietnam War," the Cooke County DA’s office said, according to FOX 4 News and KLTV.

Eric Erlandson, first assistant district attorney for Cooke County, says this is "the worst abuse that I have ever seen," KLTV, FOX 4 News and KETK report.

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<p>Cooke County Jail</p> David and Ashley Calhoun

Cooke County Jail

David and Ashley Calhoun

Calhoun's wife, Ashley Elizabeth Calhoun, and another adult living with them, Mireya Grace Evans, have been indicted as co-defendants in the case, per KLTV. No details were available as to the nature of the charges against them.

They are set to go on trial in April, KLTV, FOX 4 News and KETK report. It’s unclear if they have entered pleas or retained attorneys on their behalf.

David was sentenced to 10 life sentences, one 10-year-sentence and two 20-year sentences, per the outlets. The judge ordered five of the life sentences be served consecutively, KETK reports.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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