A 19-year-old Texarkana man who raped two young boys in his neighborhood was sentenced to 50 years in prison by a Miller County jury Tuesday night.
Juan Perez was found guilty of four of six counts of rape involving boys who were approximately 9 and 11 years old when assaulted. The jury assessed Perez 25-year terms on each of the four counts of which he was convicted and recommended that one of the counts be served consecutively to the other three.
Perez will not be parole eligible until he has served at least 35 years and must register as a sex offender upon release from prison.
The younger boy, who is now 10, said he’d gone to Perez’s home in February 2014 for a haircut and to play video games. When Perez’s parents were gone, Perez assaulted the youngster. Ten days later the boy disclosed the abuse and Perez was charged with a single count of rape.
“I was scared,” the boy said when Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Black asked him why he didn’t tell his parents immediately after he was attacked.
The older boy, who turned 13 this month, testified that Perez sodomized him repeatedly during 2012 and 2013. The boy said Perez first attacked him in the woods near their homes.
“He took me back there (in the woods) and told me about a clubhouse,” the older boy testified. “He threw me on the ground and pulled my pants down…I was in a lot of pain.”
The older boy testified that Perez assaulted him multiple times on different dates in the woods, catching him as he was outdoors playing, assaulting him in Perez’ home and once attacking him on the bleachers of a nearby school.
“When he was doing it he told me that if I was a real man I wouldn’t cry,” the boy said. “I started getting depressed. I felt I was nobody.”
The older boy eventually disclosed Perez’ abuse of him in June 2014. Five additional rape charges were filed against Perez as a result.
Both boys testified that Perez wore condoms and used “baby oil” during the rapes. Perez gave the children gifts, such as “Catholic necklaces,” baseball caps and video games, after assaulting them.
Black and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell described Perez as a sexual predator who needs to be removed from the community for the safety of all children. The jury found Perez guilty of one count of rape involving the younger boy and three counts of rape involving the older youth. Perez will be held in the Miller County jail until he is transported to a unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction.