A sentencing judge called serial rapist Tony Cruz a “fraud” for continuing to deny his guilt and accuse the victims of making false allegations.
A survivor’s mother called Cruz a “monster” for stealing the innocence from six girls who were abused as pre-teenagers – some more than 30 years ago.
Those survivors, now adults, saw justice play out Monday in a Lancaster County courtroom where Cruz was sentenced to 26 to 68 years in prison.
Cruz, 52, will only be eligible for parole after successfully completing treatment, which requires taking responsibility for what he did.
Cruz was not willing to do that in court Monday when he shook his head as Judge Donald Totaro recited the “despicable acts against defenseless young girls.”
“You can stand here and shake your head all you want. (The jury) didn’t believe a word you had to say,” Judge Totaro told Cruz. “You are a fraud.”
Cruz adamantly denied committing the crimes, saying he loved the six victims who testified at trial about the abuse they endured after becoming close to Cruz.
“You (had) each of these women relive the most painful moments in their lives” by contesting the charges at trial, a victim’s mother, Alba Cruz-Cintron, said.
The survivors sat together in the courtroom gallery; many of them wept as Cruz-Cintron spoke of a “start of a new beginning for them.”
“You were children. You didn’t deserve any of this,” Cruz-Cintron said.
Six victims testified at trial, even though the charges regarded only four of them. The crimes against two others exceeded the statute of limitations for prosecution. The judge allowed their testimony because the abuse against all six illustrated a course of criminal conduct.
Cruz testified and denied, just as he did Monday. He said he was “not a troublemaker.”
Assistant District Attorney Karen Mansfield, who won the trial conviction, said Cruz “had been raping children for over two decades.”
Judge Totaro agreed: “You preyed on several prepubescent children for twenty years.”
Judge Totaro denied a defense request for sentences regarding each victim to be concurrent.
“You will not receive a volume discount,” the judge said.
Lancaster city police Detective Aaron Harnish, who investigated and filed charges, also sat in court for sentencing.
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