John Baptist, 38, walked out of court a happy man
John Baptist, 38, walked out of court a very happy man this morning after trial judge Justice Troadio Gonzalez handed him a fine, and not jail time, for two counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature.
Baptist was charged with one count of carnal knowledge and three counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature, after a report was made against him by the victim, who was 15 at the time of the trial.
The child testified about being assaulted by Baptist for a period of almost ten years, and of Baptist having sex with her from she was only 6 years old. She also spoke of the lewd acts committed upon her by Baptist, including him performing oral sex on her on more than one occasion.
After hearing the evidence, the jury could not decide on a verdict on the carnal knowledge charge, found him not guilty on the first count of aggravated assault of an indecent nature, but guilty on the other two charges of indecent nature.
The judge gave Baptist time to prepare his mitigation plea and to also have persons appear and speak on his behalf. However, when Baptist appeared in court today, he was the only one present: no one appeared to speak on his behalf.
In his mitigation, Baptist told the court that he has a girlfriend and that he works at a construction company. He also aids his mother, who is sickly, by giving her money, he said.
After his mitigation plea, Justice Gonzalez told Baptist, “You should be ashamed of yourself! You came here showing no remorse and no consideration for the child. She has been wrecked for life.”
He then told Baptist that the maximum sentence for such crimes is four years, and if given those sentences, they would have to run consecutively.
The judge then opted to impose two fines on Baptist — $5,000 for the first offense, and $6,000 for the second offense, for, as he put it, wrecking the child’s life.
The judge informed Baptist that he has until May 31, 2013, to pay the first $1,000 of the $5,000 fine, and the balance of the two fines must be paid by January 31, 2014. But if the first $1,000 is not paid, the whole sum of the two fines must be paid forthwith, or Baptist will serve three years in prison.
Then there is the matter of the bail that had to be paid by Baptist or his sureties after he absconded. Justice Gonzalez ordered Baptist to pay the $5,000 bail by January 31, 2014, or his two sureties will have to pay $2,500 each to cover that cost.