BELTON — A 28-year-old Belton man was sentenced Thursday to seven years in prison for indecency with a child by contact.
Ramiro Alfaro will get about 11 months credit for the time he already spent in the Bell County Jail, Bell County Chief Deputy Chuck Cox said. State District Judge Paul LePak also considered the pre-sentence investigation and closing arguments in order to make his ruling.
Alfaro was taken into custody after the judge pronounced the sentence. Alfaro will be held at the Bell County Jail until he is transported to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
The victim, now 16, provided emotional testimony in court Thursday.
Speaking calmly and softly, she told LePak the abuse began when she was about 11 and continued until she reported the abuse to police at age 14. The girl said Alfaro would touch her inappropriately and expose himself when her parents were not at home, and that she was afraid to tell anyone.
“I felt confused about why this was happening to me,” she said. “I was stuck in my room and I hardly ate.”
Even after she told her story to the police, she returned home to find Alfaro there. A few days later, she went to live with family members in another city.
Alfaro’s defense attorney, Mike Magana, said his client has struggled with drug abuse and has been diagnosed with several mental illnesses.
“This doesn’t excuse his behavior,” Magana said to the victim.
The victim said in response that she believed Alfaro knew right from wrong.
“I think he should go to prison and he can seek help there,” she said, adding it was “cowardly” to use drugs or mental illness as an excuse.
Magana, in his closing argument, said Alfaro had accepted responsibility for his actions and was seeking treatment for his mental illnesses. He asked the judge to consider deferred adjudication probation for the defendant because of a lack of prior criminal history and time already spent in the Bell County Jail.
Assistant District Attorney Erica Morgan argued for prison time.
“He can’t just promise to be better because what’s done is done,” she said.
Morgan said the victim’s suffering continues years later.
“To restore a sense of justice for this young woman and to send a message, he needs to go to prison for double digits,” she said.
The penalty range for the second-degree felony ranged between two and 20 years.