BURELSON COUNTY, Tex. (KBTX)- The following is a news release from the Burleson County District Attorney's Office:
Aurelio Hernandez-Cruz, 39, of Caldwell, was convicted late Friday evening by a jury in Burleson County.
Cruz was charged with Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child.
Judge Campbell presided over the trial and will assess punishment after a hearing at a later date. Assistant District Attorneys Lauren Haevischer and John Brennan represented the State, and Trey Dunne and Bruno Shimek represented the Defendant.
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Young Child is a first-degree felony with a special punishment range of 25-99 years, or life, with no eligibility for release on parole.
Hernandez-Cruz was indicted in April of 2018 on the charges, after an investigation by the Caldwell Police Department.
The outcry of abuse was made in Travis County, so the Austin Police Department originally began the investigation, but referred the case to Caldwell once it was discovered the abuse occurred in Burleson County.
The victim was 11 at the time the abuse was reported, and described regularly occurring sexual abuse since age 7 at the hands of Aurelio Hernandez-Cruz. The victim, now 13, testified, along with 2 former foster parents, law enforcement, and a forensic nurse.
During closing arguments, Haevischer explained the difficulty in trying these cases, “Perpetrators of child sexual abuse hide the abuse to appear normal to the rest of the world. They do it secretly, they do it quietly.”
“Delays in reporting often mean little to no physical evidence,” Haevischer explained later. “In these case we had consistency in the circumstantial evidence that backed up everything the victim said. The jury could clearly see the toll years of abuse took on her, and the change in her from little girl to troubled teenager.”
District Attorney Julie Renken commented after the trial, “This is the second case of continuous sexual abuse Lauren and John have tried this year, and once again their hard work has paid off. Nothing we can do can give a child victim what they’ve lost, but we will continue to seek justice on their behalf.”
Regarding sentencing, she went on saying, “These cases often see very long sentences without consideration of parole. The judge has a large range of punishment available, and Lauren and John will continue working to give the judge all he needs to sentence this defendant appropriately.”