HOUSTON — A north Houston baseball coach was sentenced to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting young girls on his team for years.
Juan Jose Cruz, 56, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child in exchange for 35 years in prison and one count of indecency with a child for 20 years.
Cruz, who went by “John,” was a youth sports coach on Houston’s Northside. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said he used his position to take advantage of his victims.
“This man is a predator who sought out a position of trust so that he could take advantage of young girls,” Ogg said. “Ten victims from different time frames came forward to tell their stories, and this agreement not only ensures that he will spend decades in prison and cannot appeal but these victims will be spared from testifying about his abuse.”
Cruz was sent to prison Thursday, but it took a little work to get him there. While he was free on bond from the first case that was filed, Cruz jumped bail and refused to report to court. He hid for a year before he was brought back to court in 2020. This week, he made his guilty plea after several of his victims came forward to provide victim impact statements.
“This Defendant is a true predator. He abused numerous girls in his life who trusted him and whose parents trusted him.” Assistant District Attorney Janna Oswald said. “The Defendant was good at grooming the community, the parents and the girls, allowing him to commit these crimes for a long time. The bravery that it took for all of these women and young ladies to disclose their abuse and be ready to testify against their abuser is awe-inspiring. Their statements show their strength and resilience.”
Cruz’s sentences will run concurrently.