A criminal complaint says the girl turned the letter in at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on Dec. 11. A counselor at the school “reported that the student had turned in a wish list to Santa wishing for her [relative] to stop touching her and her sister,” according to a probably cause complaint. Children’s Advocacy Center interviewed the girl after the school counselor reported the letter. There, the little girl told the authorities the details of her molestation, according to the complaint.
The complaint says investigators believe the molestation occurred over a period of four years. The years of sexual abuse allegedly occurred in the girl’s own bedroom while family members slept.
The Cantu is charged with continuous sexual abuse of a young child with his bond set at $100,000 for one charge and $250,000 for the second charge of continuous sexual abuse of a young child. He is currently in the Hidalgo County jail. If convicted, he could face as little as 25 years in prison or as many as 99 years in prison.
Pharr Police spokesman Lt. Guadalupe Salinas said the girls’ mother had been unaware of any abuse but that the relative had moved out of the home after an earlier falling out. The relationship of the man with the girls is not being released to protect their identities.
Cantu is a computer lab aid at an alternative high school, Lamar Academy, but has not been accused of crimes against students there. Mark May, a spokesman for the McAllen district,s aid Cantu would have taught students “at times” as a computer lab aide but that there were “no reports, nothing to suggest that anything has occurred at school.”
The charge against Cantu is a new one, created by the Texas legislature last year. It is part of a series of changes to the penal code called Jessica’s Law, designed to heighten punishments of sexual predators. Texas was the sixth state to allow capital punishment for certain sex crimes against children. The bill increased penalties for many child sex offenders and authorizes death for the very worst.
To quote a song, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when your awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good…..” Santa exists for this little girl this Christmas.
- “Child Writes to Santa, Asks For Molestation to End”, FOX News, 15DEC08
- “Girl asks Santa to stop her relative’s molestation”, The Monitor, 15DEC08
- “Letter to Santa Leads to Texas Molestation Charge”, ABC News 16DEC08
- “Jessica’s Law approved in Senate”, The Dallas Morning, 25APR07
- “’Jessica’s Law’ bill heads to governor’s desk”, Houston Chronicle, 19MAY07