By Morgan Thomas - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – A 39-year old Lufkin man is behind bars after being arrested on two counts of Indecency with a child and one count of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a child. His female victim said the assaults began three years ago when she was 12 years old.
According to a police affidavit, the child reported the molestation to a relative who contacted police. In an interview conducted by a trained forensic interviewer, the child was able to in graphic detail tell police about how her attacker, identified as Rolando Guadalupe Torres, 39, had abused her over the past several years.
The victim said the abuse started on the first day of school of her sixth grade school year and continued almost every day until on or about December 19 of last year.
The plea bargain agreement gets a child sex predator off the streets and behind bars where he'll stay for several years thanks to the courageous voice of the young victim.
Angelina County Assistant District Attorney Julie Alston prosecuted the case. "He will register as a sex offender for the rest of his life."
The plea deal will allow Torres to avoid punishment for multiple child sex crimes, instead admitting guilt to one count of Indecency with a child by sexual contact.
Alston had hoped for the maximum time behind bars for Torres, but said the ten year plea bargain agreement probably saved the victim of the trauma of testifying in open court. She said it also got a sex offender off the streets and will likely help bring closure for the victim. "Overall, it was a positive thing that he came in, that he pled guilty validated the child in that regard. That he came in and took responsibility," Alston said.
East Texas child advocacy centers are hoping to strengthen this movement of coming forward with a new public awareness campaign.
One of the hardest parts in coming forward for the young victim was confiding in family members that she had been victimized. "Children often delay in the time it takes them to make an outcry. It's a difficult thing, they feel ashamed of themselves, they feel for some reason they're at fault even though they're not."
That's the focus of 'One With Courage', a new public awareness campaign supported by the Kalin Center in Crockett. Organizers hope the campaign will raise awareness. "we want to teach them where they can go to , what they can do, how to say no and no this is not right," Debbie McCall, Executive Director, Kalin Center, said.
The Kalin Center also is spreading its message to area schools. "We are starting in Grapeland at the end of January and we'll be working one on one with students. (Letting them know) That they don't have to keep this hidden inside of them they don't have to go through all of it alone."