Mario Anthony Hernandez was convicted of sexually assaulting a young male relative and now faces 106 years to life in prison, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
According to the DA’s public statement, Hernandez was convicted on five felony charges: three counts of sodomy with a child aged ten or younger, one count of oral copulation with a child ten or younger, and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child.
The victim, now 12 years old, said the sexual abuse began when he was three and intensified when he turned 8.
The defendant and his wife became the legal guardians of the victim and his older brother after the two boys were temporarily removed from their parents’ custody.
The boy said that the molestation would almost always occur when Hernandez’s wife was away from home.
Hernandez would refuse to feed the victim unless the boy submitted to sexual acts, telling him, “You owe me,” according to Deputy DA Karen Schmauss, citing the victim’s testimony.
Hernandez would also refuse to sign off on the victim’s homework if he did not agree to perform sexual favors, according to the DA’s statement.
The young boy was also forced to watch pornography.
“The victim’s 11-year-old brother told police that he had observed one incident of sodomy through the blinds that separated the boys’ room from the defendant’s room, and that he had heard the bed shaking another time,” said Schmauss.
The victim testified against Hernandez in court for three days.
“It was very difficult for the victim, to testify about the terrible abuse he suffered at the hands of the defendant,” Schmauss said.
After three days of deliberation, a jury handed Hernandez the guilty verdicts.
“The defendant will never be able to harm another child,” the prosecutor said.