A 39-year-old Knox County man was convicted Wednesday of molesting his young stepdaughter, according to prosecutors.
At the conclusion of a three-day jury trial, Cristobal Jose Vasquez was found guilty of solicitation of a minor and aggravated sexual battery. His bond was immediately revoked by Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword, who also scheduled his sentencing hearing for August 11
“We have a special responsibility as prosecutors to protect the most vulnerable members of society,” District Attorney General Charme Allen said after the verdict was returned. “Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved in this case, the child is now safe from this perpetrator.”
Vasquez first molested the victim when she was 11 years old, said District Attorney General’s spokesperson Sean McDermott.
“Two years later, Vasquez also solicited sexual activity from the minor victim by sending inappropriate text messages,” McDermott said. “After the text messages, the victim disclosed the abuse to a school counselor who notified law enforcement.”
Knox County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jeff Bryant interviewed Vasquez and the victim’s mother while the girl was interviewed by a forensic interviewer from ChildHelp Tennessee, McDermott explained.
“Vasquez admitted sending the text messages to the victim,” he continued. “At trial, the victim’s mother testified in support of Vasquez and stated that she directed him to send the text messages to ‘test’ the victim. This testimony contradicted her previous statement to investigators, and the jury discredited the testimony, finding Vasquez guilty.”
Aggravated sexual battery normally carries a penalty of eight to 12 years in prison while the penalty for solicitation of a minor is two to four years, according to state law.
“Prosecutors will also notify officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of Vasquez’s convictions as he has already been deported from the United States once before,” McDermott said.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Ashley McDermott and Heather Good.
Published on June 30, 2022.