GALVESTON COUNTY – A jury sentenced a Galveston County man to life in prison plus 20 years on Thursday after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting two young family members, the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Leonidas Cedillo was found guilty of continuous sexual abuse of a young child and sexual assault of a young child.
In February 2020, the Dickinson Police Department started investigating Cedillo for sexually abusing the two children over a span of several years. Cedillo was indicted for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child younger than 14, a first-degree felony, and Sexual Assault of a Child younger than 17, a second-degree felony.
During the trial, which started on March 7, Assistant District Attorney Ricque Davis and Barbara Agbu said Cedillo began forcing a female relative to have sex with him when she was just 11 years old.
The attorney said Cedillo continued to sexually abuse the child over the years, telling her that he was “teaching” her things that no one would understand, and that if she told anyone about the abuse and he was arrested, there wouldn’t be anyone to take care of her and her younger siblings. Cedillo began abusing another, younger, girl in a similar way when she was 13 years old, court documents revealed.
The attorney said after the older victim learned what Cedillo was doing to the younger victim, she decided to tell someone about the abuse.
Officials said the child saved a piece of clothing that she was wearing during one of the assaults against her, knowing it was stained with Cedillo’s DNA. Investigators said she then waited for a visit from her mother, and told her about the abuse.
The mother notified the authorities, and the children were quickly removed from Cedillo’s home.
During the trial, Cedillo took the stand and claimed that every witness against him was lying, claiming that the victim’s mother conspired with them and convinced them to make false allegations against him so that she wouldn’t have to pay child support anymore, and so that she could move back into his house. He also claimed that someone must have planted his semen on the victim’s clothing.
After four hours of deliberations, the jury found Cedillo guilty in both cases.