A grounds maintenance helper at a Texas school district was accused of repeated sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl, according to information released Wednesday by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. However, the alleged abuse appears to have gone on for several years, resulting in a second, more serious charge that may call into question the suspect’s U.S. immigration residency status.
Deputies said they arrested Jose Armando Lopez Solorio, 61, an employee with the Pasadena Independent School District, on Friday at the home of a family member in Houston after accusations surfaced that he sexually assaulted an unidentified 13-year-old. At the time of his apprehension, police located Solorio babysitting small children whose parents were not on the premises.
On Saturday, law enforcement agents booked Solorio into the Montgomery County Jail, according to online records. Initially, they charged him with the continuous sexual abuse of a child younger than 14. His bail was set at $150,000. Detectives said they interviewed the suspect during which he admitted to committing this offense.
Additionally, Solorio provided investigators with other information that resulted a second and more serious count of super aggravated sexual assault of a child. Detectives learned the alleged abuse began when the victim was four to five years old, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Bail for the super aggravated sexual assault charge was set at $250,000.
Super aggravated sexual assault of a child is a first degree felony and carries a minimum prison sentence of 25 years and a maximum sentence of 99 years or life in prison. In 2007, Texas enacted House Bill 8, the state’s version of Jessica’s Law. It created two new offenses — continuous sexual abuse of a young child and super aggravated sexual assault of a child — the latter charge involves cases where a victim is younger than six years old or if someone previously convicted of the violent sexual assault of a victim under the age of 14 commits the same crime again.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office indicated that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials contacted them, advising Solorio’s immigration status would likely be reviewed because he committed these crimes in the U.S. prior to receiving his residency status.
In a statement released Wednesday, Pasadena ISD officials said they only learned of the allegations after the suspect’s arrest. Subsequently, they terminated Solorio’s employment.
“On the afternoon of February 6, 2019, Pasadena ISD was informed by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office that Mr. Jose Lopez Solorio, a Pasadena ISD Building and Grounds helper, was arrested for continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14 and aggravated sexual assault of a child. Upon learning this information, Pasadena ISD took immediate action to terminate this individual’s employment. Mr. Lopez Solorio’s position did not require direct contact with students.”
School district officials thanked the sheriff’s office for its “swift action” in handling the matter. They encouraged anyone with information related to this case or other possible victims to contact police.
Online jail records show Solorio is married and remains in custody on a total bond of $400,000.