A 38-year-old Bryan man was sentenced to 65 years in prison Friday for multiple acts of sexual abuse against an 8-year-old child he was acquainted with.
Santos Ruiz Jr. was convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14. He will serve his sentence without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said they called three children to testify against Ruiz, including the victim in this case, who all testified that Ruiz had sexually abused them at various times beginning around 2004.
Prosecutors also called a New Mexico woman who knows Ruiz, who said she caught Ruiz in her 7-year-old daughter's room late at night, and that her daughter reported that Ruiz was sexually abusing her.
The case was investigated by numerous law enforcement agencies, including the Bryan Police Department, a Montgomery County internet crimes task force, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and two New Mexico police departments.
"Because children had the courage to speak out, and law enforcement agencies cooperated with each other, this predator will never harm another child," said prosecutors Ryan Calvert and Philip McLemore in a joint statement.
From the Anderson County District Attorney's Office
ANDERSON COUNTY, TX - On July 13, 2016 an Anderson County Jury found 31-year-old Palestine resident Anthony Reyes guilty of a 1st degree felony charge for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child. The jury heard evidence from the victim, various experts, law enforcement and Reyes’ confession during the trial.
The female victim who was under the age of 14 at the time the abuse started testified that Reyes had sexually assaulted her multiple times over at least one year. Reyes fully confessed to sexually abusing the victim during his initial interview with police. His confession corroborated the DNA evidence, the victim’s outcry statement, medical statement and trial testimony.
Someone help me with this. Why was there a trial when Reyes confessed in his initial interview? I must be missing something here.
After hearing all the evidence, the jury sentenced Reyes to 60 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The State was represented by Assistant Criminal District Attorney Brenda Hicks with assistance from 1st Assistant Criminal District Attorney Scott Holden. Reyes was represented by Jeff Herrington and 87th Judicial District Judge Deborah Oaks Evans presided over the trial.
Criminal District Attorney Allyson Mitchell is grateful to the experts in the case, for the courage of the victim to testify and for the jury’s attention to all the facts presented in the case. Mitchell stated, “Detective David Kassaw and Kaylyn Griffin with the Palestine Police Department did an excellent job investigating this case.
Through their work and Det. Kassaw’s suspect interview, a confession was obtained. Jessi Jones, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, was able to tell the jury what happened to the victim through science and her medical interview with the victim. Brenda Hicks diligently worked the case and did an excellent job presenting the evidence to the jury. The efforts of these individuals and others helped ensure that Reyes was held accountable for his crime.” Mitchell also notes that Sophie, the therapy dog, also assisted by comforting the victim as she testified. This is the first time that a pet therapy dog has been utilized at trial in Anderson County.
Mitchell further explained that the charge of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child carries a significant punishment. An individual charged with this crime faces punishment from 25 years to 99 years or life in the TDCJ. Additionally, a conviction for this type of criminal offense means that the person found guilty and sentenced by statute must serve day for day of each year he or she receives as punishment.
According to Mitchell, Reyes will be 91 years old before he will be released from prison.
Mitchell stated, “this monster took a part of this child’s life; her innocence. That is something that she can never get back, something that was hers and no one else’s. It is only fitting that Reyes have a part of his life taken as punishment. Thanks to the attentiveness of the jury to the facts in the case, he now has 60 years to think about his horrendous act. As a society we must protect our children from all harm, myself and everyone involved in this case are in awe of this victim for confronting the perpetrator and we are grateful she has received the justice she deserves.”