CONROE- A Montgomery County Judge and Jury sent a strong message to child predators on Thursday.
John Anthony Saldivar, 31, was found guilty on two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, which is a first degree felony.
359th District Judge Kathleen Hamilton sentenced Saldivar to two consecutive life terms in prison, the maximum sentence allowed by law. It was Saldivar’s birthday.
Assistant District Attorney Rob Freyer prosecuted the case and called Saldivar’s stepdaughter to the stand where she testified for two consecutive days about the details of her sexual abuse by Saldivar. She testified that the abuse began when she was around eight and continued through age 12.
The child, identified by the DA’s office only as “A.C.,” recounted how the abuse took place at their apartment on Borough Park Street, and continued after the family moved into a trailer park on Elmfield Road in Spring. She said Saldivar told her if she told anyone what he did to her, he would throw her family out of the house and they would live on the streets.
According to her testimony, he said, “When we play like this, it is our little secret, and if you say anything, I will do something bad to you or your brothers.”
The girl said she was “terrified” of Saldivar and deeply scarred by the abuse. She testified that Saldivar sexual abused her hundreds of times over a four year period.
The State also called to the stand, Dr. Lawrence Thompson, a clinical psychologist with the Children’s Assessment Center in Houston, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Stephanie Stiller and Detective Melanie Wood.
Kari Prihoda from Children’s Safe Harbor in Conroe also testified that she interviewed the victim shortly after the child revealed she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Saldivar. Prihoda testified that the victim “displayed signs consistent with that of a sexually abused child.”
When handing down the sentence, Judge Hamilton said Saldivar had shown no remorse whatsoever. Saldivar testified in his own defense, saying the victim was “making up her story,” but he had no explanation for why.
The statement released by the DA’s office says the only emotion the defendant showed was for himself.
“The defendant did not show the slightest bit of emotion, until he was led away from the courtroom in handcuffs after being convicted by the jury last night.”
District Attorney Brett Ligon called the verdict, “a testament to the courage of one little girl who was brave enough to sit in the witness chair, look her abuser in the eye and tell him his days of terrorizing little children were over.” said District Attorney Brett Ligon.
“Anytime a sex offender is told they will spend the rest of their life in prison, we should all sleep a little better,” Ligon said.