Blanco County district judge sentences child molester to life in prison

FROM STAFF REPORTS

JOHNSON CITY — A 52-year-old man learned June 13 he will spend the rest of his life behind bars for sexually assaulting a nephew.

State District Judge Dan Mills sentenced Michael Domingo Ribera to life in prison after the man violated terms of his probation from a 2010 plea of guilty on aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child.

“Michael Ribera has terrorized this community too long,” said Blanco County Assistant District Attorney Stacy Street. “Life in prison will finally put an end to the years of abuse by this dangerous man.”

On Oct. 22, 2010, Ribera entered a plea of guilty to the charges involving his nephew. As part of the plea, a different judge sentenced Ribera to 10 years of deferred adjudication, a type of probation. Under those terms, had Ribera stayed out of trouble during the time period, the convictions could have been removed from his record.

After the 2010 court hearing, the victim, who was 25 at the time of the sentence, told The Tribune, though he had hoped Ribera would receive a more stringent punishment, he could live with the terms.

The victim, who endured the abuse between the ages of 8 and 12, didn’t think Ribera could live up to the court-ordered rules.

“And if he messes up during the next 10 years, then he’ll go to jail,” the victim said in 2010.

The court found June 12 that Ribera had violated the terms of his probation including soliciting people online for sex, using drugs, failing to complete court-ordered sex-offender treatment and counseling and committing new theft offenses, according to a district attorney’s office release.

But that wasn’t the only things that led the judge to levy such a heavy sentence.

The district attorney’s office called on two witnesses: a licensed therapist who has treated sex offenders for more than 15 years and Ribera’s probation officer, who has supervised more than 1,000 sex offenders.

When the court asked the therapist to rate Ribera on a scale of 1 to 5 for non-compliance of probation terms, the witness rated the man a 10, officials said.

Ribera’s probation officer ranked the defendant as one of the top five offenders he has ever supervised.

“I will not ignore the testimony I’ve heard here today relating to the danger you pose to this community,” Mills told Ribera.

Under state law, the court can sentence a person who violates his or her probation to a term based upon the original crime. Aggravated sexual assault of a child is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison.

District Attorney Sonny McAfee was pleased with the court’s sentence.

“This is a dangerous predator,” McAfee said. “There is no telling how many lives have been ruined by this man. He should have been sent to prison long ago, and I’m glad Judge Mills has given him a sentence that ensures he will not be able to victimize any others.”

editor@thepicayune.com