Friday, October 5, 2012

Connecticut Man Repeatedly Rapes 11-Year-Old While Living in Mother's Home

A number of years ago, shortly after I got out of law school, I worked for a short time (less than two years) in the prosecutors office in my home county in Kentucky. One of my assigned duties was to handle the child abuse, neglect, and dependency cases. It was the least favorite part of my job, mostly because it was difficult to remain unemotional and detached when it came to dealing with parents who abused or neglected their children.

For a short time while I held that job, I was the chairperson of the County's task force that sought to educate people on the horrors of child abuse. Working with law enforcement officers gave me access to some of the worst case files and evidence that they accumulated in investigations of this nature. I can gladly state, however, that I never saw anything that compares to some of the cases of child abuse that are depicted in scores of videos that now populate the Internet.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the monster who was convicted of sexually abusing and murdering his infant daughter, Baby Evelynne. That story came back to me this morning when I read about the arrest this week of 23 year-old Elier "Leo" Torres Garcia of New Haven, Connecticut.

Elier Garcia's mug shot
According to the news report, Garcia and his victim's mother met about a year ago, in December 2011, in a night club in New Haven. Immediately thereafter Garcia moved in with the woman, sharing the small apartment with her two children -- a boy age 11 and a girl age 8. The woman's stepdaughter also rented a bedroom in the apartment. She has an unspecified number of children and works outside the home.  No mention is made of a husband, which can be inferred from the fact that there is a stepdaughter. He must not be in the picture.

Although the exact nature of the relationship between the mother and Garcia is not conveyed, Garcia earned his keep by baby-sitting her children, taking them to and from school, cooking, and cleaning the apartment. This woman must have thought she had quite the catch.

But the mother's blindness did not carry over to the children. They saw the real Garcia while the mother was at work. He drank tequila. He smoked marijuana. He sent the 11- year-old boy to the store for odds and ends. And then he raped the 8-year-old. Apparently Garcia did not worry if the boy returned early and caught him molesting his sister. He also did not bother to aide when he hit their mother, in whose home he was a guest.

This behavior went on for over five months. The stepsister (I am not clear of her exact relationship to the homeowner), who must be old enough to live on her own and have a job, suspected something was going on with the 8-year-old stepsister. She saw hickies -- yes the monster left hickies -- on the girl's breast, and video-taped her response. Sadly, fearing there was not enough corroborating evidence, the older girl did not take the video to police until two additional months had passed.

When the stepsister reported the crimes, police interviewed the 8-year-old victim. KTLA News reports:
"The victim stated that she has been feeling sad about what [Garcia] did to her," the warrant states. The girl told police she felt like screaming from the pain, but that Garcia would cover her mouth to keep her from making noise, police said. He also threatened to whip her if she said anything and said her mother would hit her and "kill her to death" if the girl said anything.

Police arrested Garcia, and he was arraigned this past Tuesday on 28 counts of risk of injury to a minor and 28 counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor. Bond was set at $200,000. There is no indication as to whether he posted it or not, but his next court date is set for October 16.

Sadly, this story of child abuse is all too common in this country. Fortunately, organizations such as Dreamcatchers are trying to educate people and make us aware of the horrors that children go through every minute of every day. They posted this video on You Tube to spread the word. Watch carefully at the 7:11 mark, as the sleeping child depicted there is a notorious case in New Mexico. More on her below.

The child at the 7:11 mark is Baby Brianna, the worst case of child abuse in New Mexico history.

Below is a video telling Baby Brianna's tragic story. The baby died in 2002, and was buried in a pauper's grave, using funds that the townspeople collected when the family failed to claim her body. After Brianna's burial, the family erected a cage around her grave to keep people from putting flowers and memorial items on it.  Numerous family members were convicted of participating in her murder.

The prosecutor  in this video, who helped bring the perpetrators to trial and conviction, is Susana Martinez of Dona Ana County. She is now the Governor of New Mexico. Martinez spoke at the RNC in August.


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