116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — An Iowa City man cursed a judge and at one point threatened the mother of his victims during a hearing this week when he was sentenced to life in prison without parole for sexually assaulting two children in 2019.
The two girls, ages 9 and 12 when the abuse occurred, and their mother submitted written victim impact statements, read by others during Monday’s sentencing, stating they were scared and had trust issues because of the multiple sex acts forced upon them by Jorge Maldonado, 30.
One of the victims included graphic details of the abuse she suffered, stating she hoped he didn’t encounter such acts in prison.
The girls, now 11 and 14, were not in the courtroom but watched the sentencing by video from another courtroom. Both children also were allowed to testify over closed-circuit television from another courtroom during the trial in September.
Maldonado was found guilty by a Johnson County jury on all four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of second-degree sexual abuse.
Maldonado interrupted the proceedings more than once, cursed at 6th Judicial District Judge Chad Kepros and then threatened, in Spanish, the mother of the victims.
Kepros merged the first-degree sentences and sentenced Maldonado to a life sentence without parole and 25 years on the second-degree conviction because it was a separate act at a different time.
A life sentence for sexual abuse is rare because in order to convict on the first-degree sexual abuse charge, the prosecution has to show evidence of serious physical or mental health injury to the victims or that a defendant has prior convictions.
Typically, in most sex abuse cases, there are no serious physical injuries or it may be difficult to prove mental health injuries.
According to criminal complaints, the girls told police the sexual abuse happened when their mother was at work. The sexual abuse incidents happened from June 1 through Dec. 31, 2019.
According to testimony, Maldonado threatened to kill the 12-year-old, her sister and their mother if they told anyone. The girl finally told her mother about the abuse.
The victims’ mother also said they had been threatened and were all afraid of Maldonado, according to testimony.
The mother, after learning of the abuse, said in order for her and the girls to escape, she told him the 9-year-old was having a diabetes attack and she needed to take the child to the hospital.
During the trial, the 12-year-old testified to having mental health injuries. A therapist testified the girl was self-harming — cutting — herself and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Maldonado has a lengthy criminal history with convictions for assaults and domestic abuse in Johnson and Louisa counties, according to court documents.
A probation official, during a bail review hearing last summer, testified Maldonado also had several assault convictions in Illinois and a conviction for resisting police in Wisconsin.
Maldonado also had a pending case of domestic abuse and child endangerment charges, but Assistant Johnson County Attorney Rachel Zimmermann Smith dismissed the charges after he was found guilty in the sexual assault case because he already faced a life sentence.
Comments: (319) 398-8318; firstname.lastname@example.org