San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

January 14th, 2011
Foster dad gets 10 years in prison for sexual assault of child

STAFF REPORT

A Hays County jury sentenced a 51-year-old Dripping Springs man to 10 years in prison for the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl who had once been his foster child, officials announced Friday.

Aranda

Jesus “Jesse” Aranda was found guilty of sexual assault of a child on Wednesday during his trial, which included testimony that detailed the offense in April 2008, the Hays County District Attorney’s Office said.

Aranda and his wife were foster parents of the victim as well as several other children. The girl, who had a history of prior sexual abuse that resulted in her being taken into state care, had been placed with the Arandas through the Settlement Home agency in Austin, the district attorney said..

In the trial, Aranda had elected to go to the jury for punishment if found guilty. The jury deliberated for approximately four hours before returning with the sentence. Aranda is not eligible for bond pending any appeal due to both the length of the sentence and the nature of the offense, the DA office says.

Jurors heard evidence from several witnesses. The defense team asked the jury to consider their client’s lack of criminal record, his character, and his reputation as a hard worker and good father in their request for probation.

The state’s attorneys asked the jury to consider a range from ten to twenty years in prison, citing the defendant’s re-victimization of a child victim of sexual abuse as being particularly heinous, the DA office says.

Assistant District Attorneys Cathy Compton and Amy Lockhart prosecuted the case, while Aranda was represented by defense attorneys Richard Ursha and Ray Green.

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