Sheriff Sheds Light on Indictment for Agg. Sexual Assault of a Child

 
Oscar Homero Rios, Sr., 56 of Big Lake, was arrested Tuesday evening, September 12th on a charge of  Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, a First Degree Felony.
 
Rios was indicted by a Reagan County Grand Jury on September 8, 2017.
 
The arrest was first reported by The Big Lake Wildcat on the website www.mybiglake.com.
 
“I am extremely proud of our officers,” Reagan County Sheriff Jeff Garner said. “They worked hard on this case to get it ready to go.”
 
The sexual assault allegedly happened on or about August 1, 1999, some 18 years ago.
 
According to the indictment, Rios sexually assaulted a child at that time.
 
“Even though the victim is an adult now we have to look at it as it was in 1999,” Garner said. “This was aggravated sexual assault of a child.”
 
According to the law, a child is considered anyone 14 years old or younger.
 
Garner said the victim was allegedly sexually assaulted in Schleicher County and in Reagan County but initially reported the assault in Schleicher County where she was told that the statute of limitations had passed.
 
Schleicher County Chief Deputy Jason Chatham explains the case was indeed investigated in Eldorado and referred to 51st District Attorney Allison Palmer who determined the statute of limitations had expired.
 
“She (Olivarez-Arispe) brought it to us, and we determined the statute of limitations had not passed,” Garner said. “Our DA (Laurie English)said the law had changed on the statute of limitation on a sexual assault of a child case some years ago.”
 
51st District Attorney Allison Palmer did not return a phone call requesting comment on the case before this edition went to press.
 
Previously, the statute of limitation for a sexual assault of a child case was 10 years following the 18th birthday of the victim.
 
“I’m grateful that law was changed,” Garner said. “People should feel free to come forward when they feel capable of doing so.”
 
A first degree felony carries with it a sentence ranging from five years to life in prison, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
 
“I feel the strength in this case lies in the fact that we have more than one victim willing to take the stand to testify this happened to them,” Garner said. “If it is one victim, after so much time, it really turns into he-said she-said. Having multiple victims really solidifies things.”
 
An Eldorado woman, Brittany Oliverez-Arispe said she was a victim in the case.
 
“I came forward a year ago last month,” Brittany said. “I told my family first. From there I went to the police who have been so helpful and supportive.”
 
Brittany, now 27, said she wants potential victims of sexual assault to know she is there for them if they need support.
 
“No one is ever alone in this,” Brittany said. “This world will be handed down to our children, and it is our job to protect them. I urge anyone who is a victim of sexual abuse to come forward.”
 
Brittany said she did not want to go into detail over Rios’ alleged assault.
 
“I do feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Brittany said of Rios’ indictment. “If anyone needs help please don’t hesitate to call the rape crisis hotline in San Angelo. They are so supportive.”
 
The hotline can be reached at 325-655-2000 or 1-800-656-HOPE.
 
Garner said, unlike other recent sexual assault of a child cases in Reagan County, Rios was not willing to talk to investigators once he was arrested late Tuesday, September 12th.
 
“You often get confessions when the assault is fresh,” Garner said. “There is still intense guilt on the part of the suspect. Once this much time has passed the suspect has time to justify their behavior.”
 
As with all criminal cases, Rios is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
 
“We do feel there is the potential for more victims to come forward in this case,” Garner said.
 
Garner finished up by saying how close to his heart these types of cases are.
 
“Early on in my career I was involved in an investigation involving sexual assault of a child,” Garner said. “It really stuck with me. I’m always proud when we can work a case this thoroughly and bring an indictment.”
 
Garner said he feels this case is also a big accomplishment for Deputy Judy Gutierrez.
 
“This is a difficult case to work due to the time-frame involved,” Garner said. “With the victim coming in as an adult. It is a difficult indictment to get.”
 
Garner said, in the end, he hopes his department’s work helps start the process of closure for the victims.
 
“That is the most important thing,” Garner said. “Getting them that justice and closure.”
 
Eldorado Success editor Randy Mankin contributed to this story.

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