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By Tommy Witherspoon
Waco Tribune-Herald via Associated Press
A Waco man implicated in the sexual abuse of eight young girls dating back 20 years was sentenced to life in prison Monday for molesting one of the girls.
Jurors in Waco’s 19th State District Court deliberated over two hours before recommending maximum penalties on three of the four felony counts for Tomas Ramirez, a 36-year-old floor and carpet layer and the father of three children. Including the life sentence on an aggravated sexual assault of a child conviction, the jury returned maximum 20-year sentences on two counts of indecency with a child. On the other count, another aggravated sexual assault of a child charge, the jury sentenced Ramirez to 99 years in prison.
According to statute, the sentences must run concurrently.
Jurors on Thursday convicted Ramirez on two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child, while acquitting him on a third count of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Jurors recommended that Judge Ralph Strother sentence Ramirez to 20 years in prison on each of the indecency counts.
Ramirez, who must serve at least 30 years in prison before he is eligible for parole, testified during the punishment phase of his trial and denied touching the girls improperly.
The victim on whose allegations Ramirez was tried testified that Ramirez sexually abused her during a five-year period beginning in 1995 when she was 7 years old.
The woman, now 24, didn’t report being abused until 2005, when she told her sister after the family watched a television program about sexual abuse. She didn’t report it to police until five years later, when she said she became concerned about other potential victims.
In punishment testimony, seven other young women told the jury that Ramirez also sexually abused them beginning when the girls were from 8 to 11 years old. The abuse began in 1993 with one girl and ended in 2010 with the final victim, according to trial testimony.
Several of the women, who are all related to each other, said Ramirez abused them once, while one said he abused her multiple times from 1998 to 2010, beginning when she was 7 years old. Another woman said he abused her for 10 years beginning when she was 6.
“If this isn’t someone who deserves life in prison, who is?” prosecutor Hilary LaBorde asked the jury. “That is what these victims need and what he has earned.”
Ramirez theorized in punishment testimony that the women made up the allegations because they were jealous of his wife because he works hard, makes a decent living and can provide nice things for her.
If it wasn’t that, they lied because he had disputes with one woman’s father, Ramirez said.
Waco attorney Rob Swanton, who represented Ramirez with attorney Phil Frederick, asked jurors in summations to consider that Ramirez is what defense witnesses called a good father, a good brother, a good son, a good employee and a good friend, and that there is another side to him other than the allegations. Aaron Pierce, a licensed sex-abuse counselor, testified Monday that Ramirez is at low risk of offending again, based on Pierce’s evaluation.
Prosecutor Michelle Voirin countered that Ramirez showed no remorse or empathy for his victims and blamed everybody but himself for his problems. “You can’t restore their childhoods. You can’t repair their families. You can’t give them back their innocence,” Voirin said. “But you can give them something. You can tell them they are not nameless, faceless victims. You can tell them someone listened to them.”