MOUNTAIN LAKE — A resident of Mountain Lake faces six felony charges including four first-degree counts of criminal sexual conduct and two second-degree counts of criminal sexual conduct for acts allegedly conducted on a child between Jan. 1, 2015 and Oct. 11 of this year.
Francisco Javier Garza, 42, will make his first appearance in Cottonwood County Fifth Judicial District Court on Oct. 26.
According to the criminal complaint, a mandatory reporter notified the Mountain Lake Police Department earlier this month of suspected sexual assault involving a student. The victim had confided to the reporter that sexual contact by Garza began when the victim was seven or eight years old and in third grade. The contact continued several times per month until earlier this month, with the assaults usually occurring in Garza’s bedroom.
The victim reportedly told Garza to stop, and was forced to comply. The victim also stated that Garza would use a piece of wood to barricade the bedroom door when the assaults occurred. Garza reportedly would offer candy and tell the victim, “we will play a little game.”
The victim stated that Garza touched private parts more times than could be remembered, and that sexual intercourse between Garza and the victim happened about five times a month, and sometimes more than once a day.
The victim also stated that Garza was physically violent, had slapped the victim with a belt and kept a gun in his bedroom.
During a search warrant of Garza’s house, law enforcement located a piece of wood and scrape marks on the door showing the board was allegedly used to block the door. Also found in the bedroom was a .177 caliber BB gun (pistol-sized).
The victim’s mother was interviewed as part of the investigation and said she knew the sexual assaults were occurring, and that the latest assault took place on Oct. 8. The victim stated that the mother was informed of the sexual assaults for the first time in June, and was again told on Oct. 11.
Meanwhile, Garza reportedly denied sexual assault of the child. He allegedly admitted touching the child inappropriately and using physical discipline — including slapping the victim with a belt.
On each of the four first-degree criminal sexual conduct counts — including contact with a victim under the age of 13 and being in a position of authority — Garza faces a maximum 30 years imprisonment and/or a $40,000 fine. On the two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct — including having a significant relationship to a victim under the age of 16 — Garza faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and/or a $35,000 fine.
The Southwest Crisis Center is available in our community to support and empower survivors of sexual and domestic violence. For questions about services or how you can help, contact the Southwest Crisis Center at 1-800-376-4311 or mnswcc.org.