HOUSTON (KIAH) — A 52-year-old Greenspoint man was sentenced this week to 22 years in prison for molesting a 9-year-old boy at a thrift store in 2016, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Saturday.
A Harris County jury convicted Mario Alverto Navarro on Wednesday of aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of 14. Navarro requested that he be sentenced by a judge instead of the jury. State District Judge Maritza Antu sentenced him to 22 years.
“This sexual predator has destroyed this boy’s childhood and turned the innocent act of shopping with his mother into a traumatic experience of recurring fear, worry and disgust,” Ogg said. “Situations like this are absolutely heartbreaking.”
Prosecutors said Navarro was at a thrift store on Oct. 1, 2016, when he ran into a woman he knew and her son. He told the boy he had some candy in the back of the store and lured him to a restroom, where he put a towel around the boy’s eyes and assaulted him.
When the boy’s eyes were uncovered, he saw that Navarro’s pants were unzipped and his belt was unbuckled, prosecutors said.
About four months later, the boy told his mother that he had a “secret” and told her what had happened at the thrift store. She called the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated and arrested Navarro.
Assistant District Attorney Brett Batchelor, who prosecuted the case with Helen Le, said the judge got the right result.
“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare: a sexual predator just lurking in a store ready to lure children away from their parents,” he said.