Saturday, January 22, 2011

Having been convicted in a series of sexual assaults against several children, rapist Salvador Aleman Cruz has been sentenced to 53 years in prison

Representing himself at trial, Cruz questioned some of the Seattle-area women whom he'd attacked when they were children. The King County Superior Court Judge Douglass North showed what their courage was worth - an exceptionally long sentence for Cruz that will likely see him locked away for the rest of his life. "He's a child rapist, and he's gonna pay," said Brandi, one of the five young women to testify against Cruz at trial. Sex crime charges were first filed against Cruz in 1997, after a woman with whom he'd been living went to police to report that he had sexually abused her children. He was sentenced to a short jail term in the case after pleading guilty to communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. Weeks after his release, he began abusing other children. Eight months after that, he fled to Mexico and vanished; he was arrested crossing back into the United States in 2008. Investigators ultimately learned that Cruz had repeatedly sexually assaulted at least five children. In some cases, he attacked the children of women he was with; in at least one other, he approached a young teen girl on the street and began a sexual relationship with her. Addressing the judge, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Val Richey noted that the molestation was extremely violent and accompanied by threats. Cruz, he said, left his victims terrified. Richey also noted Cruz, as far as investigators could tell, struck any child he could get his hands on. "Every young girl that he came in contact with for four years was sexually assaulted," Richey told the judge as the jurors who heard the case looked on from the gallery. "In each instance … at each step, Salvador Cruz was extreme," the prosecutor continued. "Salvador Cruz is a grave threat to society. He is a sexual predator of the highest order." For his part, Cruz was smiling and unrepentant in court. He described his victims as creating "stories" and refused to discuss the allegations, which saw him convicted on three counts of first-degree child rape, two counts of third-degree child rape and one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

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