“I am not a bad person, I don’t want this part of my life to define me. I wish I could take this back … ”
These are the words of convicted rapist James Daniel Cruz who was sentenced in court Thursday morning.
Facing up to 16 years in prison for raping an 11-year-old boy, Cruz will only serve two years out of an 8-year sentence with credit for time served. Superior Court Judge Michael Bordallo showed leniency taking into consideration that Cruz was once a victim of abuse.
At the hearing, Cruz read a letter to the court apologizing for his actions and taking full responsibility.
“I understand that there must be consequences for my actions I understand that this is very serious situation. I would like to move my life forward and never come back to this bad situation again.”
He further stated ” I want to make a positive change in everyone’s lives. I do not see myself in this situation ever again in the future. I know I can be a better person I know I can learn from my mistakes and my past.”
Bordallo shared that the victim’s family had requested that Cruz not be sentenced to any jail time indicating that they have forgiven him for the crime.
Cruz took a deal with the government, pleading guilty to two counts of 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct as a second degree felony. Each count carries a sentence of one to eight years incarceration. In pleading guilty, all other charges against him were dropped to include first degree criminal sexual conduct.
A portion of Cruz’s sentencing hearing was closed to the public to protect the identity of the victim in the case. Superior Court Judge Michael Bordallo indicated that legal counsels would be arguing allegations involving statements made by the minor victim in the case.
A magistrate complaint against Cruz stated that he and a 13-year-old boy had been raping the victim for about a month. Police say Cruz and his alleged accomplice would take turns holding down the minor while the other rapes him. When police interviewed Cruz, he allegedly admitted to molesting the victim and performing oral sex but denied raping him. The 13-year-old boy also admitted to engaging in sexual conduct with the victim.
Following his incarceration, Cruz will be placed on three years parole, must register as a sex offender, undergo sex offender counseling if available and be liable for restitution to the victim.
He was ordered to self-surrender to the Department of Corrections on Friday, Sept. 6.