The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

November 23, 2013

Michigan man sentenced to 35 years for sexual assault

PALESTINE —

An Anderson County jury sentenced a Michigan man to 35 years in prison without the possibility of parol Friday for continuous sexual assault of child.

A jury of five men and seven women deliberated less than 20 minutes before returning the verdict against Galo Gonzales, 63, of Bay City, Mich. at 9:50 a.m. Friday in the district court of 369th District Judge Bascom W. Bentley III.

The case against Gonzales was prosecuted by assistant district attorneys Elizabeth Watkins and Scott Holden. Gonzales was represented by local attorney Mark Cargill.

Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe said that according to Texas law, “continuous sexual abuse occurs when a person commits multiple acts of sexual abuse over a period longer than 30 days.”

Continuous sexual abuse is a first degree felony with a minimum punishment of 25 years without possibility of parole. The maximum penalty is life in prison.

“The jury felt since they were pretty sure Gonzales would be 98 years old when he got out of prison — that would be enough time to protect other children from being his prey,” Lowe said.

The victim, a female child now 13 years old, testified by closed circuit camera on Thursday morning after Judge Bentley ruled video testimony was necessary to protect the victim from “the traumatic effects of testifying in open court.”

The victim testified that when she was 7 or 8 years old, Gonzales took her to his room and pulled her onto his bed on top of his body. While grabbing her behind, Gonzales “humped her,” the girl said. She described other acts Gonzales did to her.

Gonzales who had served multiple sentences for illegal drugs, beginning in 1969 and ending in the 1990s, did not testify in his own behalf.

Gonzales was tried under a part of the 2007 “Jessica’s Law.” Although relatively new, this law enacted by Texas Legislature in September 2007, provided the most vulnerable victims some much needed relief, according to Watkins.

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