Victim Takes the Stand as Defendant Sentenced to Prison for Lewd Acts with a Child
SAN ANGELO, TX — A 46-year-old man pleaded guilty to one count of indecency with a child by sexual contact Friday and was sentenced to prison by 51st District Judge Carmen Dusek.
Eric John Pedroza was facing three felony counts of sexual assault of a child and the felony indecency count. He pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charges and guilty to the indecency with a child.
Assistant District Attorney Stuart Holden called the victim, now 19, to testify against Pedroza.
The victim now lives out of state and was 16-years-old at the time of the sexual assault. She testified that she met Pedroza and his wife at a north San Angelo church in 2016.
Pedroza and his wife were staying in an apartment at the victim’s parents house. She testified that Pedroza was in the living room of the house on the evening of June 12, 2016 watching movies with her and a few others. She said she fell asleep in a chair while Pedroza was on the couch. “I fell asleep. I woke up and he was doing things to me.” The victim became emotional on the stand and could not testify specifically about what he had done to her.
Under cross examination from defense attorney Jeff Rago, the victim admitted she had given different versions of what happened to law enforcement investigators. The victim testified that she screamed for her mother and Pedroza put his hand over her mouth and ‘started doing it again.”
The victim didn’t tell anyone about the assault for two weeks. According to testimony, it was then that she found out what Pedroza did to her was wrong. She continued to text Pedroza during that two week period.
The prosecution rested and Rago called Pedroza’s wife to the witness stand. Karen Pedroza testified that Eric Pedroza contracted meningitis as a child and has memory issues. The defense attempted to enter medical records as evidence but Holden objected because the records would be hearsay because there was no expert witness to verify the records. Judge Dusek sustained Holden's objection and the medical records were not admitted into evidence.
In an interview with investigators in 2016, Pedroza admitted he licked the victim.
Judge Dusek found Pedroza not guilty on the three counts of sexual assault of a child because of a lack of evidence. The Judge found him guilty of indecency with a child by sexual contact because he pleaded guilty. The second degree felony is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Pedroza was not eligible for probation because he pleaded guilty.
Judge Dusek recessed to study the Pre Sentencing Interview. After a break of about 30 minutes, the judge returned and sentenced Pedroza to eight years in prison. He was taken into custody by the bailiff and taken across the street to the Tom Green County jail.
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