CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — A Burnet County jury on July 18 sentenced 40-year-old Robert Michael Arteaga to 23 consecutive life sentences after he was found guilty of multiple child sex assault and child pornography charges, according to the 33rd/424th District Attorney’s Office.
“The grooming was there from the beginning,” said Assistant District Attorney Stacy Street. “It was her biological father, and it was happening as often as two to three times a week.”
Arteaga was convicted on 23 counts of sexual assault of a child and 17 counts of possession of child pornography after a trial that lasted four days in Burnet County district court.
During the proceedings, Arteaga’s 16-year-old daughter spent three hours on the witness stand recounting sexual abuse, which she testified lasted from age 4 to15. “Her most memorable childhood memories are of her father perpetrating this abuse against her, and I think the jury become very angry,” Street said. “They listened to all the things that he had done and how he treated her differently than her two siblings, preyed upon her and made her feel a lot of guilt and shame when she expressed she didn’t want to continue anymore.”
According to investigators, in 2011, the teenager told a school counselor about the alleged sexual abuse by her father occuring at their home in Horseshoe Bay South.
The victim resided in the home with Arteaga, her stepmother and two siblings.
According to her testimony, the abuse started when the family lived in Harris County and continued over several years as they moved to Blanco County and then Burnet County.
“He assaulted her in every way imaginable. He also possessed 20 images of child pornography, some of them of her,” Street said. “It sends an important message that when you steal the life of a child as this predator did as he abused her from age 4 to 15, the price to pay for that is the rest of your life.”