A jury in Fort Bend County, Texas, handed down a sentence of life in prison without parole to a Salvadoran national who is illegally present in the U.S. The jury convicted the illegal alien for continuous sexual abuse of a young child and sexual assault of a child under the age of 14.
The jury in the 458th Texas District Court deliberated for less than 20 minuted before handing down a conviction on April 27 against Gilberto Antonio Guillen-Hernandez, 38. The jury came back on April 30 with a sentence of life in prison without parole on the charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child. The jury tacked on an additional sentence of 20 years in prison for the sexual abuse of a child conviction, according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by the office of Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey on Monday.
“The perpetrator, in this case, took advantage of his access to this child, and his actions warranted a life sentence,” Healy said in a written statement. “Since the month of April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, it is very fitting that this sentence was pronounced by the jury on April 30th, the final day of the month.”
Officials with the district attorney’s office told to Breitbart Texas that Guillen-Hernandez is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador. He reportedly lived illegally in the U.S. for about eight to ten years. The district attorney’s office said the victim is under the age of 14. They could not provide more specific information in order to help protect the victim’s identity.
The jury concluded that Guillen-Hernandez engaged in sexual contact with the child at various locations, including the family’s home, over a two-year period. He also took the young girl to a motel.
“The majority of times, child victims do not tell right away when they have been sexually abused by someone they know, and when they do tell, they may not reveal all of the abuse at first,” prosecutor Melissa Muñoz said. “In this case, the abuse came to light in 2016 when the child bravely reported the abuse to a teacher and an investigation began. It was discovered during the investigation that the abuse had been occurring for over two years.”
Assistant District Attorneys Melissa Muñoz and Jenna Rudoff represented the State of Texas in the case against the Salvadoran national.
“This young girl was sexually abused by someone she should have been able to trust, in a place where she should have been able to feel safe,” Rudoff stated. “She is an amazing young girl with strength and bravery that are well beyond her years. It took courage for her to come forward and face her abuser. By telling what happened to her, she not only stood up for herself, she stood up for all child victims of sexual abuse. We are so proud of her.”
The charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child carries a sentence of 25 to 99 years or life in prison without parole. The jury chose the state’s strongest penalty for this charge. The charge of sexual assault of a child is punishable by a sentence of two to 20 years in prison. Again, the jury elected the maximum sentence for this charge.
“The jury’s strong sentence sends an even stronger message to all child abuse victims and sexual offenders that the citizens of Fort Bend County have zero tolerance for child abuse,” District Attorney Healy concluded.