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.