A man was sentenced to life in prison last week after a jury found him guilty of sexually abusing a Bradenton girl from the age of 7 to 12 years old.
Juan Barron-Salazar, 39, was convicted by a jury of charges including three counts of sexual battery by a person 18 years or older upon a child less than 12 years of age and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation by a person over 18 years of age upon a child less than 12 years of age.
Immediately following the reading of the ruling on Thursday, Circuit Judge Deno Economou sentenced Barron-Salazar to the mandatory life sentence his convictions for sexual battery carried.
Barron-Salazar still faces similar charges that he sexually abused another girl, the victim’s younger sister, from the age of 7 to 11, in a separate case. Both victims, who were known to him, testified at trial of the abuse they endured.
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“We are pleased that justice was served, and we truly hope that these victims can heal from the horrible abuse they suffered,” Assistant State Attorney Cynthia Evers said in a statement.
Barron-Salazar had been held at the Manatee County jail since his initial arrest regarding the allegations in January 2015.
The allegations first came to light on January 2015 when both girls finally disclosed to a cousin that they had been sexually abused, not knowing that each other was suffering the same abuse. The cousin later told the victim’s mother, who questioned them, and they admitted to what had been happening to them. The victims’ mother then called the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
At the time when the disclosure was made, the sisters were ages 11 and 14.
Barron-Salazar had made the victim he is convicted of abusing “pinky-promise” to not tell anyone what he had been doing.
“She said she was too afraid to tell anyone about the abuse until now,” Detective James Wischer had stated in the affidavit for Barron-Salazar’s arrest warrant.