A Hays County found a Dripping Springs man guilty of sexual assault of a child last week.
Jesus “Jesse” Aranda, 51, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Aranda is not eligible for bond pending any appeal due to both the length of the sentence and the nature of the offense.
The indictment against Aranda alleged that Aranda committed the offense in April 2008. Testimony at trial detailed the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl who was in the care of Aranda and his wife, who were foster parents of the victim as well as several other children.
The child victim, 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.
Aranda had elected to go to the jury for punishment in the event he was convicted. The defense team asked the jury to consider Aranda’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 10 to 20 years in prison, citing the defendant’s re-victimization of a child victim of sexual abuse as being particularly heinous.
Prosecutors were pleased with the verdict and very happy that the jury validated the victim’s actions in coming forward to report her abuser.
“The greatest fear that any victim of sexual abuse has in these cases is that they will not be believed,” said Hays County Assistant District Attorney Cathy Compton, “That 12 objective strangers can hear a child’s story and tell that child they believe her is a wonderful healing gift of justice in each and every one of these cases.”
Compton and Assistant District Attorney Amy Lockhart prosecuted the case.
Aranda was represented by defense attorneys Richard Ursha and Ray Green.Email | Print
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