Man convicted in appealed rape case sentenced to 93 years

Article author: 
Joce Johnson
Article publisher: 
Statesman Journal
Article date: 
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Article category: 
Article Body: 

A Marion County Circuit Court judge sentenced a man to 93 years in prison after the man was convicted, for the second time, of rape and child sex abuse.

Juan de Dios Cruz-Rojas, 43, was initially convicted of rape and sex abuse of two female victims — both known to him — in 2011. The incidents occurred over the course of several years starting in 2006. The case regarding one of the victims was appealed because of a change in the law by the Oregon Supreme Court, said Judge Dennis Graves.

Cruz-Rojas was convicted again last week by a jury on four counts of first-degree rape, four counts of first-degree sex abuse, three counts of fourth-degree assault and one count of sodomy. He was sentenced to a total of 1,124 months – 93 years, 8 months.

And those 93-plus years will be served after he finishes serving 53 years for rape and sexual abuse of a second victim, according to Marion County Deputy District Attorney Matt Kemmy.

The victim spoke before the court at the hearing Monday. She said she hopes the defendant thinks of the day that she has to tell her child what happened to her.

"I hope he leaves us alone," she said.

Kemmy recommended on behalf of the state that the court impose a total of 1,436 months, or about 120 years, in prison.

"Two women talked about the abuse they suffered at the hands of this monster," Kemmy said.

"I realize he's not going to live 120 more years and I don't care."

Cruz-Rojas' defense attorney, David Kuhns, said the state's recommended sentence would exceed those imposed on defendants convicted of homicide and, by several decades, the defendant's life expectancy.

Kuhns said that his client has been heavily employed as an inmate and he has been cooperative and appreciative throughout court proceedings. Two family members spoke in court in support of Cruz-Rojas, asking that the judge keep them in mind when he decides on the sentence.

Cruz-Rojas spoke in court through a Spanish interpreter. Referring to the victims, he said they were able to continue going to school and the crimes did not happen as they say they did.

"God is fair, and he will give to each person as they deserve," his interpreter said. "I'm not worried about prison. I will go back there calmly. I have a life there and I'm doing what I like."

Graves told the defendant that he listened carefully to every piece of evidence and testimony shared during the trial and asked for God's wisdom in deciding on what sentence would be appropriate.

"The evidence is overwhelming that you sexually abused those girls," he said.

Evidence included photos of bruising on one victim that matched one of his belt buckles, and DNA test results that showed he was the father of one of the victim's child.

"My job is to sentence you knowing you did these crimes to these children... yet sentence you in proportion to the constitution," Graves said.

The Department of Corrections did not have immediately available a record that compares the sentences for inmates convicted of similar crimes. However, Kemmy said this sentence was extremely lengthy due to the circumstances of his crimes.

Kemmy explained in an email that three of the rape charges accounted for 75 years and two of them occurred when the victim was 11 years old, which qualified for an enhanced penalty of 25 years under Jessica's Law. The law requires a minimum sentence of 25 years for first-time child sex offenders. The final rape charge occurred in the summer of 2011 after Ballot Measure 73 passed, which enhances a sentence to 25 years if the defendant has previous convictions for certain major felony sex crimes.