March 21, 2022 -Springfield- On Tuesday, March 15, Lionel Cruz was sentenced by a Superior Court Judge to 12-14 years in prison followed by five years of probation. The sentencing came a week after a Hampden Superior Court Jury found him guilty on ten counts relating to child sex abuse; Rape of a Child (2 counts), Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14 (5 counts), Assault and Battery (2 Counts), and Intimidation of a Witness.
The abuse of the child occurred between 2016 and 2018 when the child was under 14 years old. The trial began on March 8 with the survivor bravely taking the stand and providing testimony to the abuse over two days in open court.
At the time of the guilty verdict, Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni stated, “The survivor testified, and did so with poise and incredible bravery, in an open courtroom and mere feet from her abuser. This act of courage and strength helped exact justice and keeps other children safe from this predator. I thank the survivor, the jury, and the members of the prosecution team, especially Victim Advocate Danielle Hultgren and Special Victim Unit Assistant District Attorney Carrie Russell.”
At the sentencing hearing the survivor submitted a powerful impact statement, which in part read, “What happened to me affected me and my family in such a big way. It impacted all of us emotionally, and mentally. For me it changed a lot about how I perceived how life was supposed to be. It changed my opinion on what love is supposed to be. What happened to me has caused me to have so many unstable relationships (friends and family) and mostly with myself, my self-esteem and my confidence was shattered.” The Survivor concluded by stating “I hope that he goes to prison for the rest of his life to keep any child safe from him. I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on anyone.”
SVU Assistant District Attorney Carrie Russell represented the Commonwealth in this case.