Juries Assess Back to Back Maximum Sentences in Child Sex Abuse Cases

Alvarado

On Friday, October 24, 2014, Juan Cerda Alvarado was found guilty of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. The case was tried to a jury in the 240th Judicial District Court before Visiting Judge Daniel R. Sklar.

Evidence presented by prosecutors Natalie McKinnon and Jill Stotts, assigned to the District Attorney’s Child Abuse Division, revealed that Alvarado sexually assaulted an eight-year-old female child he had known for years. While the child was taking a shower, the defendant entered the bathroom, pulled her out of the shower and sexually assaulted her. The child’s mother came home and caught the defendant leaving the bathroom with the front part of his shirt and pants wet. The mother questioned him but did not believe his explanation about slipping in the restroom due to the location of the wet areas on his clothes. The child’s mother then questioned her and learned that the defendant had been sexually assaulting her.

The jury deliberated approximately two hours before rendering a guilty verdict. Following a brief punishment phase of the trial, the jury handed down a ninety–nine year sentence in under an hour, sending a clear message that this type of offense will not be tolerated in Fort Bend County.

Lead prosecutor Natalie McKinnon expressed empathy for child victims in sexual abuse cases and commended the jury for their service in the Alvarado trial. “The trials of child abuse cases are hard on the victims who are forced to relive terrible experiences by describing them in detail in front of a courtroom full of strangers. The testimony is not pleasant to listen to, and the jury in this case showed their understanding of the importance of their role in the justice system,” said McKinnon.

Mrs. Stotts had praise for the child victim, “This little girl was sexually abused by someone she should have been able to trust. She is a wonderful little girl who has a lot to be proud of. It took great courage to come forward and face her abuser. Because she was able to stand up for herself by telling what happened to her, she stood up for all child victims as well.”

“Most of the crimes we prosecute in our Child Abuse Division occur between victims and perpetrators who know each other. Often they are relatives, friends, or neighbors. The crime Alvarado committed was worthy of a lengthy prison sentence. Justice was done in this case,” said McKinnon.

Aggravated Sexual Assault is a First Degree Felony punishable by 5 to 99 years or Life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Attorney James Stevens represented the defendant.

 

Alvarez

On Friday, October 17, 2014, Edwin Alvarez was convicted and sentenced to the maximum twenty – year sentence for second-degree felony Sexual Assault of a Child. The case was tried to a jury in the 268th Judicial District Court before Visiting Judge Reagan Clark.

Evidence presented by child abuse prosecutor Laurel Ellisor and Suzy Morton, chief of the child abuse division, revealed that three female children had been sexually abused by the defendant over a number of years. The crimes came to light when one of the girls broke down after being questioned by a family member following remarks the defendant made regarding one of the girls.

Alvarez was on trial for one sexual assault involving a teenager. The girl provided testimony detailing the sexual assault she suffered at the hands of Alvarez when she was 14 years of age. Following her disclosure, two other girls revealed that they had been abused by Alvarez for a number of years with much of their abuse occurring in another county. Under a new law that came into effect September 1, 2013, the jury was able to consider the testimony of the two additional girls for purposes of evaluating the defendant’s character and determining if he acted in conformity with that character. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury sentenced Alvarez to the maximum prison term allowed by law.

Alvarez testified during the punishment phase of the trial and denied committing any offenses. He asked the jury to give him probation. Prosecutors argued that maximum sentences should be reserved for special situations and harsh circumstances, such as existed in his case, and requested the jury send a message of zero tolerance to Edwin Alvarez and others who commit sex crimes against children. The jury sent that message.

Sexual Assault is a Second Degree Felony punishable by 2 to 20 years and up to a $10,000 fine.  Attorney Brian Middleton represented the defendant.