CONVERSE, Tex. (KTSA News) — A Comal County man was sentenced to 200 years Thursday for sexually abusing two girls — one of them was considered to be his granddaughter.
Comal County prosecutors say 67-year-old Florentino Gonzales had been part of the victim’s life since her early childhood.
Early on, Gonzales would spend time with the victim doing things that she would enjoy and would buy her special gifts.
The sexual abuse would begin when she turned six.
At that point, the victim’s mother had been deployed overseas and the girl had been left in the care of the victim’s maternal grandmother and Gonzales. The abuse began with touching and then escalated to attempts to have sex with the child.
The abuse ended when the grandmother walked in on Gonzales with the girl in bed. She ripped the blanket that Gonzales was using to cover himself to find his boxers down to his knees.
However, the grandmother did not call police nor her own daughter — who is the victim’s mother. She instead made sure it never happened again and that no one would speak of the abuse.
The mother returned home from her deployment and noticed her daughter was different. Prosecutors described the behavior as being angry, wetting the bed, sleeping in the closet with her toys and engaging in self-harm.
The mother was again deployed years later, but the girl stayed with her aunt’s family instead. During that stay, she was having difficulties and went to therapy.
After a session, the girl told her aunt that she had been sexually abused by Gonzales. The aunt called the sheriff’s office and the investigation began.
The victim, now a young woman, shared the details of the ongoing abuse during trial and the grandmother detailed what she had seen and failed to report.
Prosecutors say another woman came forward and alerted investigators that she had also been abused by Gonzales years earlier. She also detailed the molestation she had to deal with and the threats Gonzales would make to keep her quiet.
Gonzales was convicted earlier in the week by a Comal County jury on eight counts of indecency with a child by contact and two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
During the sentencing phase, the victim’s mother blamed herself for leaving her daughter with Gonzales because of her military deployment.
She also shared that what she saw when she came home was far worse than what she had seen in war.
“I’ve been in combat and I’ve seen people with half their face gone and others die in front of me. But that didn’t affect me as much as what my daughter has and still is going through,” the victim’s mother stated in court.
She called her daughter a silent warrior for battling the effects of the abuse.
Gonzales was sentenced to 200 years in prison Thursday.
“We are so grateful for today’s sentence by Judge Boyer. With Gonzales behind bars for 200 years, we can give our two victims the peace of mind that this monster will never hurt them or anyone else again,” Comal County district attorney Jennifer Tharp said in a statement.
The grandmother did not face any charges.