On April 30, Gilberto Antonio Guillen-Hernandez of Fresno was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for continuous sexual abuse of young child and 20 years in prison for sexual assault of a child.
Tried before 458th District Court Presiding Judge Kenneth Cannata, Guillen-Hernandez was convicted by a jury on April 27, after less than 20 minutes of deliberation. The jury returned on April 30 and assessed the maximum punishment allowed by law in each case. Prosecutors Melissa Muñoz and Jenna Rudoff, both assigned to the Child Abuse Division of the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, represented the state.
Evidence presented by prosecutors revealed that Guillen-Hernandez had engaged in repeated sexual contact with the child at various locations, including the family home and a motel, from 2014 to 2016.
Muñoz said that “the majority of times, child victims do not tell right away when they have been sexually abused by someone they know, and when they do tell, they may not reveal all of the abuse at first. In this case, the abuse came to light in 2016 when the child bravely reported the abuse to a teacher and an investigation began. It was discovered during the investigation that the abuse had been occurring for over two years.”
Muñoz also praised the work of Detective Joe Luera of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office who investigated the case when it was reported in November 2016.
“This young girl was sexually abused by someone she should have been able to trust, in a place where she should have been able to feel safe,” Rudoff said. “She is an amazing young girl with strength and bravery that are well beyond her years. It took courage for her to come forward and face her abuser. By telling what happened to her, she not only stood up for herself, she stood up for all child victims of sexual abuse. We are so proud of her.”
“Most of the crimes prosecuted in our Child Abuse Division occur between victims and perpetrators who know each other,” District Attorney John Healey said. “They are often people that have access to the child, such as relatives, friends, or neighbors. The perpetrator in this case took advantage of his access to this child, and his actions warranted a life sentence. Since the month of April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, it is very fitting that this sentence was pronounced by the jury on April 30, the final day of the month. The jury’s strong sentence sends an even stronger message to all child abuse victims and sexual offenders that the citizens of Fort Bend County have zero tolerance for child abuse.”
Continuous sexual abuse of a young child is a first-degree felony punishable by 25 to 99 years or life in prison, without the possibility of parole. Sexual assault of a child is a second-degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Under Texas law, the defendant must serve every day of the life sentence for continuous sexual abuse of a young child.