Northside coach who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting multiple girls on his team sentenced to 35 years in prison

Juan Jose Cruz (Harris County District Attorney's Office)

HOUSTON – A northside Houston youth sports coach has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting girls on his sports team, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Thursday.

Juan Jose Cruz, 56, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child in exchange for 35 years in prison. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of indecency with a child for 20 years in prison. The sentences will run concurrently.

“This man is a predator who sought out a position of trust so that he could take advantage of young girls,” Ogg said. “Ten victims from different time frames came forward to tell their stories, and this agreement not only ensures that he will spend decades in prison and cannot appeal, but these victims will be spared from testifying about his abuse.”

Cruz, who went by “John,” was sent to prison Thursday after several of the young women he assaulted came forward and gave impact statements.

Ogg said while Cruz was free on bond on his first sexual assault case, he jumped bail and refused to report to court. He allegedly missed court for more than a year and was brought back in 2020.

Assistant District Attorney Janna Oswald, who is a Division Chief in the Crimes Against Children Division, prosecuted the case with ADA Edward Appelbaum, who is also a chief prosecutor.

“This Defendant is a true predator. He abused numerous girls in his life who trusted him and whose parents trusted him,” Oswald said. “The Defendant was good at grooming the community, the parents and the girls, allowing him to commit these crimes for a long time. The bravery that it took for all of these women and young ladies to disclose their abuse and be ready to testify against their abuser is awe-inspiring. Their statements show their strength and resilience.”

About the Author:

Christian Terry covered digital news in Tyler and Wichita Falls before returning to the Houston area where he grew up. He is passionate about weather and the outdoors and often spends his days off on the water fishing.