Tue. May 28th, 2024

A Texas man has been sentenced to 99 years in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child.

A Washington County jury found 46-year-old Bernardo Hernandez-Gonzalez guilty Wednesday morning after a two-week trial. The guilty verdict came after approximately half an hour of jury deliberation. 

According to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office, investigation began with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office after one of the victims reported the allegations.  Multiple other family members then came forward with similar stories.  Prosecutors said the abuse included four family members and spanned years, starting when the victims were as young as 5 years old.

The jury heard evidence regarding the effects on the victims, who spoke of nightmares and phobias continuing into their late teenage years.  According to the district attorney’s office, the victims all described the use of religion to scare them into silence and being threatened that “Santa Muerte” would come and take their parents or physically harm them.  One of the family members described extensive grooming behavior toward him by Hernandez-Gonzalez.

Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child is a specially categorized felony.  It allows the state to charge a person for committing two or more sex acts against a child under 14 during a period of more than 30 days in duration.  The punishment range is 25-99 years, or life, in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine without the possibility of parole. 

District Attorney Julie Renken and Assistant District Attorney Lorraine Nwora represented the state, while Aaron Kleinschmidt represented the defendant. 

Renken said, “A maximum sentence sends a message from our community.  I’m proud of the very hard work this jury did.”  She also praised the courage of the victims, saying, “They’ve faced their monster, and he’ll pay for what he’s done.”

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born | buffygunner@illicitdeeds.com