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May 14, 2014

Man convicted of raping girl under 12

Facing 20 years to life sentence

— An Athens man convicted of raping a female relative under age 12 is now facing a sentence of 20 years to life.

A Limestone County jury convicted Jaime Valladarez, 27, of 12553 Ripley Road, on one count of first-degree rape and one count of sodomy on May 8 in Limestone County Circuit Court. The six-man, six-woman jury found him not guilty on one count each of first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy.

Circuit Judge Robert Baker, who presided at the trial, has not set a sentencing hearing. Under Alabama law, both first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy are Class A felonies with a mandatory sentencing range of 20 years to life in prison.

Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones was pleased with the verdict.

“This conviction is vindication for a very brave little girl who had to suffer in silence for way too long before she disclosed what had been happening to her,” Jones said. “I applaud her courage and I hope other victims of abuse can find inspiration in her bravery. You do not have to live in silence or in fear if you are being abused because we are there to help you.”

Jones said the victim testified that Valladarez had sex with her when she was under age 12. An investigation showed Valladarez was 18 when the abuse began and that the abuse continued from 2005 to 2012, when the victim disclosed the abuse to family members who reported it to the Department of Human Resources and the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office.

Attorney Garry Clem represented Valladarez at the trial.

A Limestone County grand jury formally charged Valladarez in June 2012 with three counts of first-degree rape, three counts of first-degree sodomy and six counts of incest, records show. However, before the arrest warrants could be served, Valladarez fled to California, where he was born. The U.S. Marshals Service found and arrested him and he was returned to the Limestone County Jail, where he remained jailed until the trial, Jones said.

The district attorney said the case represented a successful joint investigation by law-enforcement, the district attorney’s office, DHR, Athens-Limestone Hospital and the Child Advocacy Center.

“I appreciate their hard work and dedication in this case, without which a conviction would not have been achievable,” Jones said.

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