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Letter to Santa, Stops sexual abuse!

Posted by on Dec. 17, 2008 at 3:31 PM
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PHARR, Texas — A 9-year-old girl's letter to Santa may have finally stopped a nightmare of alleged sexual abuse for her and her 10-year-old sister.

Police allege that for as long as four years Andres Enrique Cantu sexually abused the young sisters in their bedrooms while the girls slept or did their homework.

The white-haired Cantu, 55, shuffled into court in leg irons and handcuffs for the second time in less than a week Tuesday to face a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a young child.

The 9-year-old's plea to Santa, written as a school assignment, launched the investigation and led to the first charge of continuous sexual abuse last week. On Tuesday, Cantu was accused of abusing the girl's older sister, who was also mentioned in the letter.

Cantu, a computer lab aide at an alternative high school in McAllen, did not have an attorney present.

Investigators have refused to share the letter to Santa, saying it is evidence in an ongoing investigation. But the charging affidavit described it as "a wish list to Santa" asking that the girl's relative stop touching her and her sister.

Pharr Police spokesman Lt. Guadalupe Salinas said the girls' mother was unaware of the abuse but that the relative had moved out of the home after an earlier falling out.

The Associated Press is not identifying the relationship of the man to the girls to protect their identities.

The girl submitted the letter to Santa to her teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Pharr on Thursday as part of a class assignment, said Arianna Hernandez, spokeswoman for the Pharr-Alamo-San Juan Independent School District.

The teacher told a school counselor, who notified police, Hernandez said.

But it was the neighboring McAllen Independent School District where Cantu had worked for 11 years, most recently in the computer lab at Lamar Academy. He was arrested at the school Friday.

Mark May, a spokesman for the McAllen Independent School District, said Cantu would have taught students "at times" as a computer lab aide at Lamar Academy but that there were "no reports, nothing to suggest that anything has occurred at school."

The district's policy is to place employees facing serious charges on administrative leave, May said.

During Tuesday's brief arraignment, Municipal Judge Rudy Martinez read the charge and set Cantu's bond at $250,000. His bond for the first charge was set at $100,000 Friday. Cantu was being held at the Hidalgo County Detention Center.

The 9-year-old, who was interviewed at the Children's Advocacy Center of Hidalgo County, said that Cantu had been touching her genitals and breasts from August 2004 to February 2008 while the rest of the house slept, the affidavit said.

The 10-year-old told investigators that she could not remember how old she was when the abuse started, but she knew she had been in a different grade when Cantu began touching her while she did her homework in her bedroom, the affidavit said.

The continuous sexual abuse charge is a first-degree felony that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and up to 99 years. Probation is not an option.

by on Dec. 17, 2008 at 3:31 PM
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by New Member on Dec. 19, 2008 at 11:55 AM

it breaks my heart that it took this much effort to see two children suffering from abuse. i'm so happy they are getting help now.

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