A 63-year-old Metairie man was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Thursday (April 21), for molesting a 5-year-old girl who lived near his apartment building.
Mario Chavez was convicted as charged last week of sexual battery involving a victim under age 13. A Honduran immigrant who needed an interpreter to understand court proceedings, he lured the child into the bedroom of his Rye Street apartment on June 20, 2014.
The crime carries a punishment of 25 years to 99 years in prison. Judge Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court, who presided over the case, denied a defense request for a new trial and ordered that at least 25 years of the that sentence be served without probation, parole or suspended sentence.
Additionally, Chavez will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life if he is ever released from prison.
After molesting the child, Chavez told her to say nothing. However, she went home and told her mother, triggering an investigation that led to Chavez’s arrest that day. DNA evidence obtained from a partial public hair and skin cells confirmed the child’s accusations, according to trial testimony.
The child told authorities she knew Chavez as “Mario,” from seeing him outside her apartment while she playing, according to evidence presented during the trial.
The victim and her family did not attend Thursday’s sentencing hearing to offer impact testimony.
Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Angad Ghai prosecuted the case.