Tag: child abuse

Terrytown man convicted of molesting 6-year-old girl

A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday (April 24) found Ronnie Lim guilty of sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl in 2012.

Lim, 26, of Terrytown, was found guilty as charged of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13.

The jury deliberated about 30 minutes in reaching its verdict. Judge Conn Regan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Lim on May 9.

Assistant District Attorneys Douglas Rushton and Meredith Hearn prosecuted the case.

Ex-gymnastics coach pleads guilty to molesting boys, sentenced to 65 years in prison

A Jefferson Parish judge on Monday (April 15) sentenced former gymnastics coach Jonathan M. West of Kenner to 65 years in prison, after West admitted he sexually exploited 13 boys under his care.

West, 27, pleaded guilty as charged to the offenses outlined in a 24-count bill of information. The victims were between the ages of eight and 15 when the abuse happened, beginning in 2015 and ending with his arrest on May 31, 2018, according to the bill of information.

West pleaded to:

  • Nine counts of indecent behavior with juveniles;
  • One count of indecent behavior with a juvenile under age 13;
  • Eight counts of sexual battery;
  • Two counts of oral sexual battery;
  • Three counts of sexual battery of a child under age 13; and,
  • One count of computer solicitation of a minor under age 13.

West’s sentences were:

  • 65 years for each of the sexual battery of juveniles under age 13;
  • 25 years for the indecent behavior with a juvenile under age 13;
  • 20 years for the computer solicitation of a minor under age 13;
  • 10 years for each of the sexual battery counts;
  • 10 years for each of the oral sexual battery counts; and,
  • Seven years for each of the indecent behavior with juvenile counts.

Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court ran the sentences concurrently, for a total of 65 years.

Judge Enright also ordered that West be electronically monitored and to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life, should he ever be released from prison. The judge additionally ordered that any of West’s electronics equipment used in the computer solicitation offense be seized and auctioned.

The judge heard impact statements from nine people, including six mothers of the victims who knew West as “Jonny.”

West worked as a gymnastics and cheerleading coach at businesses in Metairie, Kenner and St. Charles Parish. In some cases, he molested the victims while driving them to the gyms. In some cases, West told the victims that his actions would make them better at gymnastics.

Following West’s arrest, which was publicized in local news reports, more victims came forward, telling police they too were abused.

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.

Man sentenced to life in prison for raping, impregnating 12-year-old girl

Days after he was convicted by a jury, Jose Ivan Moreno Cervantes was sentenced Monday (May 7) to a mandatory life sentence in prison for raping and impregnating a 12-year-old girl in West Jefferson.

Cervantes, 36, was convicted as charged last week of the first-degree rape of a child whose pregnancy went undiagnosed into its eighth month, when a school official raised question.

The child then told authorities that Cervantes raped her three times, according to evidence presented during the trial.

Noting the victim’s bravery for testify against Cervantes, Judge John Molaison of the 24th Judicial District Court said during the sentencing hearing that adults are charged with caring and supporting children.

“It’s our obligation to protect them, and you did just the opposite,” Judge Molaison told Cervantes. “You preyed upon a child for your own sexual gratification.”

The victim gave birth in September 2015. DNA testing confirmed that Cervantes is the father. After he was booked, his family had the child sign an affidavit swearing that she impregnated herself with one of Cervantes’ used condoms. The victim willingly signed it only so that her son would have a father in his life.

Cervantes must serve life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Blair Constant prosecuted the case.

Man convicted of raping, impregnating 12-year-old girl

A Jefferson Parish jury on Tuesday (May 1) found a man guilty of raping and impregnating a 12-year-old girl in West Jefferson, rejecting the defendant’s assertion that the victim used his discarded condom to cause the pregnancy.

Jose Ivan Moreno Cervantes, 36, who at the time of his arrest resided in Denham Springs, was convicted as charged of first-degree rape of a juvenile under age 13, a crime that carries a mandatory life sentence in prison.

Cervantes raped the girl three times, twice in Westwego and once in his car in Marrero, according to evidence presented during the two-day trial. School officials suspected in late August 2015 that the child was pregnant, a suspicion the mother initially rejected.

However, that same day, a pediatrician confirmed that the victim was 8 ½ months pregnant. She then told authorities that she had been raped by Cervantes, who by this point had vanished from Jefferson Parish. The victim was 12 years old when she gave birth in September 2015.

Police obtained a warrant for Cervantes’ arrest, and a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force apprehended him in July 2016, when the newborn was nine months old, according to evidence presented during the trial.

DNA testing established that Cervantes is the father. Prior to trial, the victim and her mother signed an affidavit at the behest of Cervantes’ family, asserting that the child obtained one of his used condoms and impregnated herself. She later refuted the assertions spelled out in the affidavit, saying she signed it in hopes her child would have a father.

The jury deliberated less than a half-hour in convicting Cervantes. Judge John Molaison of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Cervantes on Monday (May 7).

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Blair Constant prosecuted the case.

 

 

Gretna couple sentenced to decades in prison for molesting three girls

A Gretna couple convicted last month of sexually abusing three juvenile girls has been sentenced to prison.

Elvin Villafranca, 40, and Argentina Mesa, 54, were sentenced Monday (April 16) to 60 years and 35 years, respectively, for their March 20 convictions of abusing the girls in their Newton Street home in 2013 and 2014.

The Gretna Police Department investigation began in November 2014, after detectives learned that a 7-year-old girl was molested while being babysat at the couple’s home. For this victim, Villafranca was convicted of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 and received a 25-year prison sentence.

The victim’s mother later asked a relative whether she had contact with Mesa and Villafranca. That victim disclosed she was sexually abused by the couple at age 13, after the couple gave her alcohol to drink during a sleepover, according to evidence presented at trial.

In connection with this second victim, Villafranca was convicted of attempted forcible rape and was sentenced to 10 years, and Mesa was convicted of sexual battery and was sentenced to 10 years.

A third victim came forward saying she, too, was sexually abused at the Newton Street residence when she was 9 years old. For this, Villafranca and Mesa were convicted of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 and received a 25-year sentences.

After hearing impact testimony from the mothers of two of the victims and denying post-verdict motions, Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court handed down the sentences. He ran them consecutively, citing the fact that the crimes involved three separate victims and that anything less would deprecate the seriousness of the crimes.

Assistant District Attorneys Laura Schneidau and Emily Booth prosecuted the case.

Gretna couple convicted of sexually abusing three juvenile girls

A Gretna couple was convicted Tuesday night (March 20) of molesting three juvenile girls, including a teenager who was given alcohol before she was sexually abused while in a drunken state.

Both Elvin Villafranca, 40, and Argentina Mesa, 54, were convicted of sexual battery counts for the crimes that occurred at their home in 2013 and 2014. Additionally, Villafranca was convicted of the attempted forcible rape of a 13-year-old girl, a responsive verdict, and Mesa was acquitted of being a principal to forcible rape involving the same victim.

“These are three victims, essentially three cases crammed into one case because of a common denominator: Mesa and Villafranca,” Assistant District Attorney Laura Schneidau, who prosecuted with Emily Booth, told jurors in closing argument.

The Gretna Police Department began its investigation in November 2014, after it learned that a 7-year-old girl was molested while being babysat at a Newton Street residence, according to evidence presented during the trial.

That victim’s mother initiated the investigation after seeing a matter of sexual nature on the child’s electronic tablet. Investigators learned that Villafranca inappropriately touched the victim, leading to his conviction of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13.

The mother of that victim later encountered a juvenile relative, who also had contact with Mesa and Villafranca, leading to the child’s disclosure that in November 2013, when she was 13 years old, she had been sexually abused at the couple’s Newton Street residence.

That second victim asserted that, during a sleepover, she was given alcohol and was not allowed to leave. For that victim, Villafranca was convicted of attempted forcible rape, and Mesa was convicted of sexual battery.

Another victim disclosed that she, too, was abused at the couple’s Newton Street residence when she was 9 years old. For this, Villafranca and Mesa were convicted as charged of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 for this offense.

After a six-day trial, the jury deliberated almost six hours Tuesday before returning its verdicts. Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Mesa and Villafranca on April 16.

Assistant District Attorneys Laura Schneidau and Emily Booth prosecuted the case.

Metairie man sentenced to life in prison for raping boy

A Metairie man who was convicted of raping a young boy was sentenced Monday (Dec. 11) to a life sentence in prison.

Charles Turner, 38, was convicted as charged on Nov. 8, of the aggravated rape of the boy, who was abused over a two-year period beginning in 2013, when he was 8 years old.

The victim, who is now a teenager, did not attend the sentencing hearing but wrote a letter to Turner that was read aloud in court. Expressing forgiveness for Turner, the victim noted the prison sentence. “My life sentence ends today as yours begins,” he wrote.

Turner, who has denied sexually abusing the child, said in court he was “not guilty.” After denying defense motions for a new trial and to overturn the jury’s verdict, Judge Conn Regan of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Turner to the mandatory punishment.

Assistant District Attorneys Lynn Schiffman and Andrew DeCoste prosecuted the case.

Waggaman father sentenced to 40 years in prison for teen son’s beating death

A Waggaman man who caused his teenage son’s death through a disciplinary beating over a failing grade at his middle school was sentenced Monday (Nov. 27) to 40 years in prison, the maximum punishment allowed by law for manslaughter.

Furnell Daniel Sr., 45, was held criminally responsible for the death of 14-year-old Jalen Daniel. A Jefferson Parish jury found him guilty of manslaughter on Nov. 18.

Using a length of hardwood that had been a railing on a baby crib, Daniel repeatedly struck his son in their Clifford Court home on Feb. 5, 2016, after the teen returned home from school with an ‘F’ in one course.

Despite his complaints of pain and his urinating and vomiting in his bed, his father did not call 911 until more than 19 hours after the beating, when the teen became unresponsive. He died days later.

Daniel stood trial on a charge of second-degree murder. He admitted to striking his son with the board but denied intentionally killing him.

After denying a defense motion for a new trial, Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court handed down the 40-year sentence, saying in part that he believes Daniel would abuse his other children.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Laura Schneidau prosecuted the case.

 

Waggaman man convicted of causing teen son’s death over ‘F’ class grade

A Waggaman man was convicted of manslaughter early Saturday morning (Nov. 18), for causing his teenage son’s death by beating the middle-school student with a piece of wood as punishment for one failing class grade.

Furnell Daniel Sr., 45, faces up to 40 years in prison for the death of 14-year-old Jalen Daniel. Using about a 4 1/2-foot length of hardwood that had been a railing on a baby crib, Daniel repeatedly beat the teen in their Clifford Court home on Feb. 5, 2016.

Only after the teen vomited and urinated in his bed and then became unresponsive did the father call 911 – more than 19 hours after the beating.

Jalen died from an untreated epidural hemorrhage caused by a blow to his head. In addition to numerous bruises, Jalen suffered from five bone fractures, including his skull, a wrist, a hand and a knee. Jalen suffered three strikes to his head, one of which caused bleeding in the brain cavity that led to heart failure.

Daniel denied intentionally killing his son but admitted in testimony that he paddled the teen “more than once” during the final beating.

Through the beating, prosecutors argued that Daniel committed a second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, which is the felony that led to the teen’s death. As such, Furnell Daniel committed a second-degree murder under the felony-murder doctrine.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated about six hours before returning with the responsive verdict of manslaughter about 1:30 a.m. Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Daniel on Nov. 29.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Laura Schneidau prosecuted the case.

Convicted child predator convicted anew of sexually abusing 3 children

A convicted sex offender was once again convicted Thursday night (Nov. 16) of sexually abusing three children in Kenner.

Carlos Alberto Montero Sr., 54, faces life in prison for his conviction of two counts of aggravated rape, sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13, two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile under the age of 13 and failing to register as a sex offender.

He abused two girls and one boy over a five-year period, beginning in 2006. The youngest of the three victims was about 6 years old when she was abused. Another victim was age 7 when Montero began abusing him, and the third victim was 12 years old when it began.

The Kenner Police Department opened an investigation in January 2016, after the step-father of one of the victims found a note she wrote to her deceased father as a form of therapy. In it, she referenced to being sexually abused.

Montero also was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender, for failing to notify police when he moved to Kenner from Gretna. He was required to register as a sex offender because of a 2002 conviction of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Following a 4-year prison sentence that ended in 2006, he was to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

The jury deliberated less than two hours before returning its unanimous verdicts about 7 p.m. Judge June Berry Darensberg of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Montero on Jan. 10.

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.