Sex Offender Pleads Guilty After Assaulting Victim Eight Years Ago
SAN ANGELO, TX – Nearly eight years after the sexual assault of a child, Jesse Lionel Rojas Jr., 31, finally entered a plea deal that sentenced him to 20 years in TGCJ confinement. Rojas was charged with sexual assault of a child under the age of 14.
The incident occurred on Jan. 9, 2009, and Rojas was indicted on this first degree felony; he was also indicted on two other counts.
On Sept. 15, 2009 he had pleaded guilty to an Assault on a Family Member, which is a third degree felony. Prior to that, on Aug. 31, 2015, he pleaded guilty to Sexual Assault of a Child, a second degree felony.
As Judge Weatherby reviewed the documents regarding the plea, he called both attorneys to the bench twice to answer the questions he had. Before the hearing began, he reminded both attorneys that keeping the three counts on the indictment would mean an automatic life sentence for Rojas.
Assistant District Attorney Ashley Knight explained to the judge that the DA’s office would only be considering the most recent assault for the plea deal. This allowed for a sentence range of 5 to 99 years, with the possibility of life in prison.
As Judge Weatherby went through the details of the plea bargain, he repeatedly reminded Rojas that, by agreeing to this deal, he was waving his right to an appeal or a trial by jury. The only way that Rojas could change the sentence agreements would be with permission from the judge, which Weatherby made very clear he would not be inclined to do in this case. Judge Weatherby also explained a victim impact statement would be offered at the end of the hearing.
During the Plea Hearing, Rojas answered the judge’s questions in a soft spoken voice, which prompted Weatherby to ask him to speak up several times.
As the hearing continued, both the state and defense attorneys relayed their agreement to the plea bargain details. Judge Weatherby accepted Rojas’s guilty plea and said he would take into consideration the time credits Rojas had earned since his indictment on March 2, 2016. This means that the days spent in jail will count towards the total time served. Rojas must also register as a sex offender.
Judge Weatherby also heard testimony from the victim, who appeared very distressed and emotional. She had a hard time relaying the details of the impact this crime has had on her. Weatherby reminded the victim that the court would grant the necessary time to allow her to express her feelings. However, she could not continue and sat down, so Weatherby announced the final details of the plea instead.
According to jail records, Rojas has been arrested seven times in Tom Green County since March of 2005. The charges included minor in possession of alcohol, possession of drug paraphernalia, theft, sexual assault more than once, assault causing bodily harm, burglary of a vehicle, criminal mischief, stalking and resisting arrest.