CHICAGO (STMW) — A predatory pedophile who molested 11 children of friends, relatives and co-workers has been sentenced to 50 years in prison by a judge who called the abuse “the most disturbing I’ve ever come across.”
Truck driver Bobby Cruz, 34, of Des Plaines, committed sick acts that were “brazen beyond belief” when he photographed himself abusing the children ages 2 to 11, U.S. District Judge Robert Dow said during an emotionally raw hearing Tuesday.
In one case, Cruz molested a friend’s young boy during a busy house party. In another, he removed a 2-year-old’s diaper before sexually abusing him.
More than a dozen victims and relatives of Cruz’s victims packed Dow’s courtroom to see Cruz sentenced. Eight testified in what the judge described as a showing of “great courage.”
“My son lives in shame and in fear that anyone will find out what happened to him,” the tearful mom of one of Cruz’s victims testified.
“I have the daily heartache of knowing that my son didn’t feel he could tell me,” she said. “His innocence was taken from him by someone that he loved and trusted.”
Cruz’s abuse lasted at least five years before an undercover online sting in 2011 caught him sharing child pornography. In addition to the hundreds of depraved photos he took, he also collected child porn involving bestiality and scatology, investigators found when they raided his home.
Evidence showed Cruz targeted the children of friends while he baby-sat them, and on trips to a pumpkin patch and the Great America theme park.
His lawyer, Daniel Hesler, argued unsuccessfully that Cruz should get the statutory minimum of 30 years in prison, because he too had been abused as a boy.
But prosecutor Jennie Levin urged Dow to impose the 50-year sentence, the maximum under a plea deal Cruz agreed to last year.
And though Cruz sobbed through the hearing and apologized to the judge, telling him, “I’ve destroyed families and I’ve destroyed children’s lives,” Dow imposed the sentence.
One of Cruz’s victims has since turned into an abuser himself, the judge said — a cycle of abuse he called “incredibly disturbing.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)