Jury finds man guilty of continuous sexual abuse of child
POSTED: Friday, August 8, 2014 - 12:30pm
UPDATED: Saturday, August 9, 2014 - 1:43pm
BROWNSVILLE, TX — It took jurors less than two hours to render a guilty verdict Friday against Brownsville resident Elias Gaitan, 34, on continuous sexual abuse of a child.
The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office was successful in utilizing Jessica’s Law that was enacted in 2007. The Law, named after Jessica Lunsford, a young Florida girl who was sexually battered and murdered in 2005, allows for some of the nation’s harshest punishments for individuals committing continuous sexual abuse of a child.
Gaitan was found guilty of one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child. The victim, now 13, stated that the abuse started when she was 4 years old and continued until she was 11 years old.
While incarcerated, Gaitan wrote disturbing letters to the victim asking her to tell authorities that she imagined the abuse.
However, Gaitan had confessed to police that he “didn’t force her” and that he wanted to “work out a deal."
“As a child, we look to adults as our protectors,” Child Abuse Unit prosecutor Brandy Bailey told the jury. “Thankfully, our law is created in such a way that you (the jury) can be the protectors now.”
CAU prosecutor Bailey and Assistant District Attorney Luis de la Garza prosecuted the case in the 357th state District Court.
“This verdict comes on the heels of a national award Ms. Bailey just received for her distinguished service on behalf of children,” District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said. “Her passion for the cause inspires other prosecutors at the D.A.’s Office.”
Gaitan could face a life sentence. The minimum sentence for Jessica’s Law is 25 years with no opportunity for parole or early release.
Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 27.