Man sentenced for sexual assault of 7-year-old boy

CASSOPOLIS — A man prosecutors said had committed an “unspeakable horror” upon a family has been handed a lengthy prison stay.

Cass County Circuit Court Judge Mark Herman sentenced Javier Escobedo, 28, of the 26000 block of Dutch Settlement Road in Dowagiac, to 20 to 40 years in prison for first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13.

As part of his sentence, Escobedo must register as a sex offender and must submit to lifetime electronic monitoring. He is also prohibited from having any contact with the victim or the victim’s family during the duration of his sentence.

Escobedo has 208 days already served as credit toward his sentence.

Javier Escobedo

The charges stem from a year-long campaign against a 7-year-old Dowagiac boy. The allegations against Escobedo include him having sexual intercourse with the victim on numerous occasions.

Escobedo pleaded guilty to the charges at a court appearance on Oct. 27.

“I don’t think he’s given any indication that he’s sorry for what he’s done to these people,” said assistant prosecutor Thomas Hubbert about Escobedo. “[Escobedo’s] behavior is going to affect this child for the rest of his life. By his own admission, he has done these things. I don’t think for one second that he fully understands the impact he’s had. So many lives have been absolutely destroyed in this case.”

The victim’s mother spoke in front of the court during sentencing to describe the effect Escobedo has had on her child and her family, saying that her son suffers from nightmares following the abuse, he wakes up every night crying and that his school performance has suffered. She added that her son was afraid to tell an adult about the abuse because Escobedo threatened the victim with further abuse, should he have told anyone.

“I don’t know why he did those bad things to me, but he scares me and he is the monster in all my dreams. I’m scared he’s going to come hurt me again, and I don’t want him to hurt any other kids, because it feels really, really bad,” the victim’s mother said, reading from a piece of paper her son wrote with a statement for the court. “Those were [the victim’s] exact words.”

The woman said that Escobedo took advantage of the fact that the victim had recently lost his father to manipulate him and force the victim into sexual acts.

“[Escobedo] would call [the victim] ‘hey, my handsome baby,’” the mother said, her voice shaking. “I can’t even call my son handsome anymore, because every time I think of that, I am reminded of what he did to my son.”

During sentencing, the victim’s mother said that other children had told her that Escobedo had showed them pornography, which led her to believe that he had abused other children the same way he had abused her son.

“I keep thinking about how long has this been going on? Who else did he rape or molest,” she asked. “This was not a mistake. [Escobedo] knew what he was doing was wrong, because he hid it so well. … He has ruined [my family’s] lives. He has caused us deep, deep pain and made everything hard for us.”

At sentencing, Escobedo denied the victim’s mother’s testimony, and said that he made a false confession to the crime of sexual abuse, adding that he did not believe there was evidence that proved him the perpetrator of the crime. In his statement, he asked the court for a second chance.

“What [the victim’s mother] said is totally opposite to what actually happened,” Escobedo said. “Ninety percent of what she is saying is false information. I’m a good man.”

Despite Escobedo’s statement, Judge Herman sentenced Escobedo along the lines of the original plea agreement.

“To this court, what you did is reprehensible,” Herman said. “To me, you should not be asking for a second chance for something that never should have happened in the first place, and I think you know that.

“I can only sentence you as one person, but we have seen here today the impact one person can have on many people. Your family, the victim’s family, there are many, many ruined lives due to your actions. We just hope that those families can one day
heal themselves.”

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