Teen gets 12 years for attacks on woman, child in Annapolis

Child and her aunt assaulted by knife-wielding intruder

November 08, 2010|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

A teenager who had been in the United States only a few months when he burst into a woman's home in Annapolis and tried to sexually assault her and her 6-year-old niece was sentenced Monday to serve 12 years in prison.

"It wasn't my intention to do them harm," Juan Carlos Conseco-Figueroa, now 19, told Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul A. Hackner, through a translator. Looking toward one of his victims and the mother of the other victim, both of whom were crying, he said, "I've been praying for you and asking God to forgive me for what I did."

Conseco-Figueroa, who left his home near Mexico City to join relatives, had pleaded guilty in May to attempted first-degree sex offense and assault in the Feb. 16, 2009, attacks that injured the older woman and traumatized the child.

Officials said he broke into the apartment and demanded sex, threatening the woman with two knives in front of three children. Conseco-Figueroa slashed the woman's neck, abdomen and hand before she broke free. He then removed some of the 6-year-old's clothes, forced her into a bedroom and locked the door. Annapolis police broke it down.

"This horrible incident generates in my daughter distress and desperation when anyone knocks at the door," according to the translation of a letter the child's mother wrote to the judge. "She exclaims, 'Be careful, Mom, in case it is a drunkard who will want to kill … us and to do ugly things to my aunt and I.' "

The victim wrote that she came to the United States for security and to build a better life for her family. Now, she said, she has nightmares regularly.

The Baltimore Sun does not identify sex crime victims.

Defense lawyer Richard Bittner said Conseco-Figueroa grew up victimized and was sexually abused. He then drank and used cocaine, Bittner said. The youth's father said the attack was out of character. His uncle, Jesus Robelas, said that Conseco-Figueroa asked him to apologize to the victims' families, "but I didn't do it because I was so ashamed and embarrassed."

Bittner said Conseco-Figueroa tried to kill himself while in the county jail. Prison "in all probability is going to lead to his death," Bittner said. As an illegal immigrant, his client would be ineligible for most services and, as a physically small sex offender, he probably would be tormented by other prisoners or seek gang protection, Bittner said.

Calling this a difficult case, Hackner said he realized Conseco-Figueroa would be deported at the end of his sentence, but that was not a reason to not punish him.

"To be sent back to Mexico is not exactly what I consider punitive," Hackner said, sentencing Conseco-Figueroa to life with all but 12 years suspended, followed by probation.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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