05/24/10: Man, 26, assaults teen girls
By Judith Pannebaker
After his successful prosecution of Alfedo Ramirez Jr., 198th Assistant District Attorney Brad McCullouch offered, “This man is a habitual sexual predator and is not a candidate for rehabilitation.”
On Thursday, April 15, a Kerr County jury found Ramirez guilty on three counts of felony aggravated sexual assault of a minor and one count of felony criminal solicitation of a minor.
District Judge Rex Emerson sentenced Ramirez to a 99-year term and a 20-year term in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The sentences will run consecutively. Two other 99-year sentences rendered for the remaining felony sexual assault charges will run concurrently. Ramirez has already served nearly a year in the Kerr County Jail. Kerrville attorney Steve Pickell served as the defendant’s court appointed attorney.
“Since Ramirez is only 26 years old now, we wanted to ensure that he would not be eligible for parole anytime soon,” McCullouch said in an interview on Thursday, April 22. “Of course, there’s always the possibility that he’ll get out (of prison) when he’s 80.”
Ramirez’s guilty verdicts resulted from him having had sex with a 13-year-old female resident of Kerr County. However, during the course of the investigation, it was discovered that he had also sexually assaulted female minors living in Bandera County.
While examining a series of subpoenaed text messages from Ramirez, 198th Judicial Investigator Todd Burdick discovered five other victims.
“That’s five other victims in just a six-month period,” McCullouch said. “We have no idea how many others there are out there.”
According to Glenda Wilke, who serves as a victim advocate in Bandera and Kendall counties with Hill Country Cares, the text messages could not be accessed beyond a six-month period.
After learning about the other victims, the DA’s office reviewed Ramirez’s telephone calls from the county jail and discovered incriminating statements that were subsequently used to secure the conviction.
“He knew the calls were being monitored, but he incriminated himself anyway,” McCullouch said.
According to McCullouch, Ramirez trolled the Internet – Facebook and MySpace, specifically – for potential victims. After gaining their confidence, he sent numerous text messages to the girls before arranging to meet them in person and engage in sex.
A habitual criminal, Ramirez had been arrested previously for aggravated sexual assault of a minor in 2004. However, the victim recanted just before a trial was to begin, which led to a dismissal of charges. According to McCollouch, before last week’s trial began, the original victim came forward and acknowledged that she had lied when she had denied having a sexual relationship with Ramirez. The couple has a child.
Charges against Ramirez in that sexual assault of a minor have been reinstated, McCollouch said.
“The power the predators have over their victims is very scary,” Wilke explained.
Ramirez’s previous brushes with the law have included being charged with marijuana possession, unlawfully carrying a weapon, indecency with a child, sexual assault of a child and aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon.
The investigation into Ramirez’s latest sexual predation was instigated when parents of the Kerr County victim caught their daughter sneaking back into the house after an assignation with Ramirez. After the girl related what had occurred to her parents, they contacted Kerr County law enforcement authorities.
Ramirez committed the crimes on March 7, March 25, May 11 and May 23, 2009, and he was arrested and charged on July 2, 2009. He’s expected to be transferred to the TDCJ in the next several weeks.
Included in the court documents were sealed statements from the victim as well as four others. The victims will be contacted should Ramirez ever be eligible for parole.
Wilke strongly urged that parents monitor their children while they are on the Internet – although she ceded the task would be a difficult one. “Everyone should be careful on the Internet, not just young girls. That’s where sexual predators find their victims,” she explained. “Parents can lock them out, but the children tend to let everyone in so it becomes very easy for sexual predators.”
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