LAS CRUCES MAN GIVEN MAX SENTENCE FOR CHILD SEX ABUSE; FAMILIES TAKE STAND
November 6, 2019
Nic Garcia, Justin Kree
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — Convicted child sex abuser Christopher Manuel was given the maximum sentence Wednesday in a Las Cruces courtroom.
In August, Manuel changed his plea of "not guilty" to "guilty" to 10 different counts related to a 2017 arrest.
Manuel was sentenced to 43 years in prison.
The charges include:
• Four counts of criminal sexual contact in the third degree
• Three counts of criminal sexual contact in the second degree
• Two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor
• One count of sexual penetration with a minor
Manuel cried in the courtroom during his appearance, apologizing to the court and admitting he has a problem. He asked the court for help and forgiveness.
Manuel's father spoke in the courtroom, saying he loves his son and asking the court to show mercy.
Emotions become more tense in the courtroom when family members of the young victims spoke. They asked the judge for a maximum sentence. A grandmother of one of the victims called Manuel a "monster."
“They were innocent, beautiful, unscathed, until your filthy hands defiled them and robbed them of their trust, their confidence and their naivety,” the grandmother said.
The mother of another victim asked the court not to let Manuel out onto Las Cruces streets again.
“I ask you to give all the time he can serve so that he can’t do this to other families. It’s to hard. Don’t expose him to our community please,” the mother said.
Judge Douglas Driggers suspended 21 years of Manuel's sentence. Meaning Manuel will serve 22 years in prison before being released. If Manuel violates his probation or commits another similar crime, he would go back to complete the remaining 21 years.
Manuel will also receive mental evaluations while in prison and take classes.
Manuel will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Police said when the arrest was made, Manual was living in a Las Cruces home that also served as Suzi's Zoo Home Daycare.
The day care was shut down after Manuel's arrest.
Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.