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Villarreal v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

April 25, 2018

Ernest VILLARREAL, Appellant
v.
The STATE of Texas, Appellee

          From the 175th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial Court No. 2016CR1397 Honorable Catherine Torres-Stahl, Judge Presiding

          Sitting: Karen Angelini, Justice Marialyn Barnard, Justice Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice

          OPINION

          Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice.

         On January 12, 2017, Appellant Ernest Villarreal was convicted by a Bexar County jury of two counts of aggravated sexual assault and five counts of indecency with a child. The trial court subsequently assessed punishment at forty-years' confinement in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a fine in the amount of $2, 000.00 on each count.

          Procedural and Factual Background

         In July of 2013, Villarreal moved in with his niece Jennifer, her boyfriend Ernest, and her four children. Villarreal slept in a bedroom with his niece's three daughters. Villarreal slept on the bottom bunk, two of his nieces slept on the top bunk, and one niece slept on the couch.

         P.G., who was ten-years-old at the time, testified that on a few occasions she fell asleep on the bottom bunk after watching a movie. P.G. testified that, on three occasions, Villarreal laid behind P.G. and pulled her waist towards him. He then pulled down her pajama shorts and underwear, and touched "her butt." P.G. further testified that Villarreal touched her first on the outside and then inside her anus with what "[a]t first, it felt like a finger. And then it changed. . . . it felt bigger." Additionally, P.G. described how after Villarreal was inside her anus, he would "rub" on her by grabbing her legs towards him and rub on her thighs while her pants and his pants were down. P.G. stated that this, or something similar, occurred about three times over the period of a few days.

         After the girl's bunkbed was moved to a different room, and Villarreal was in his own room, P.G. broke down and told Ernest "one night that [P.G. and Villarreal] were lying in bed and [Villarreal] had pulled her panties down." Ernest testified that he stopped P.G. because he "lost [his] mind after that." Ernest took the children to his mother's house, told his mom what P.G. said, and called Jennifer, P.G.'s mother. Ernest asked Jennifer to come home quickly "because something really bad happened to [P.G.]"

         On appeal, both parties agree the alleged incidents occurred on three different days. The jury was charged, and found Villarreal guilty on each of the following counts:

Count I: Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child
Count II: Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child
Count III: Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact
Count IV: Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact
Count V: Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact
Count VI: Indecency with a Child by Sexual ...

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