'Super' sexual aggravated assault: How a stricter sentence for sex offenders helps victims

'Super' sexual aggravated assault: How a stricter sentence for sex offenders helps victims
Updated: Jun. 20, 2018 at 4:10 PM CDT
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Students walk to and from class on the campus of WT; Source: KFDA
Students walk to and from class on the campus of WT; Source: KFDA
Sec. 22.021. of the Texas Penal Code defining 'super' aggravated sexual assault, part 1;...
Sec. 22.021. of the Texas Penal Code defining 'super' aggravated sexual assault, part 1; Source: KFDA
Sec. 22.021. of the Texas Penal Code defining 'super' aggravated sexual assault, part 2;...
Sec. 22.021. of the Texas Penal Code defining 'super' aggravated sexual assault, part 2; Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A Bexar County Sheriff's Deputy is facing a sexual charge that has been intensified due to the past nature of his crimes.

Bexar County Deputy Jose Nunez is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl, and then allegedly threatening her mother with deportation if she reported it.

Nunez was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl. However, the charge had the 'super' added by prosecutors in order to demand a harsher sentence.

"Aggravated sexual assault isn't the actual charge we would charge somebody with," said Amarillo Police Corporal Jeb Hilton. "The 'super' aggravated [part] comes during the sentencing phase."

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An aggravated sexual assault can be escalated to 'super' under a couple circumstances. Circumstances can include if the victim is a child six years-of-age or younger; or, if the victim is 14 years-of-age or younger and received bodily harm or was killed.

Due to cases like the one out of Bexar County, Cpl. Hilton says things need to be done to help keep the public safe.

"That's where lawmakers have to step in," said Cpl. Hilton. "They have to try and help the people when it comes to stuff like this. That's what happened when it came to the 'super' aggravated charge."

The Texas Penal code claims a sexual assault sentencing can be escalated if: 'it caused serious bodily injury or attempted to cause death;' or if 'acts or words placed the victim in fear' that any person will become a victim.

The 'super' charge carries a minimum sentence of 25 years. Cpl. Hilton says law enforcement hopes mandates like this deter future criminals.

"Just to have that deterrent of whatever goes through this person's mind before they commit this offense," said Cpl. Hilton. "If having a minimum 25 year sentence helps, then we hope that it does. "

Law enforcement believes stricter sentences will keep offenders from posing a danger on the streets.

"Our hope is that we can fix the offender," said Cpl. Hilton. "[It will help them] if they can get in to a place where they can get help, get counseling, and just be away from being a danger on the streets."

Chief Executive Officer for Family Support Services Jim Womack says any crime that causes harm to another is despicable.

"In a perfect world, we wouldn't have these crimes, and we wouldn't have to worry about this," said Womack. "[However,] these guidelines will help the people who are the actual victims and survivors."

Womack says the knowledge that your offender is locked away for a lengthy amount of time can provide some level of comfort for victims.

"It would provide some peace mind maybe for the survivors," said Womack. "Knowing that their predators, that they wouldn't have to worry about them being paroled out early, that type of thing. So I could see where family members, and children themselves, knowing their predators are behind bars could provide some relief, and peace of mind."

Although these harsher sentences keep offenders in jail longer, parents still need to watch out for their children. Just because one offender is behind bars, does not mean that more aren't on the streets.

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