Local man sentenced to 12 years for raping 6-year-old
WILLMAR -- A 30-year-old Willmar man was sent to prison for 12 years for sexually assaulting a 6-year-old boy. Once his sentence is complete, Manuel De Jesus Diaz-Orellana will be de-ported to El Salvador.
In May, a Kandiyohi County ju-ry found Diaz-Orellana guilty of a felony charge of criminal sexual co-nduct in the first degree for raping the boy, who was 6 years old at the time.
Judge Mi-chael Thompson sentenced Diaz-Orellana on Thursday to 144 months in prison. He will be registered as a predatory offender.
"We are happy with the sentence," said Assistant County Attorney Connie Crowell.
Under the sentencing guidelines, the sentence could have been as much as 173 months. The 144-month time was the presumptive sentence, said Crowell.
She said Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a hold on Diaz-Orellana, and he will be deported to his home country of El Salvador when he is done serving his time.
Crowell said she did not know if Diaz-Orellana is a legal U.S. resident or not, but said even if he had entered the country legally, "with this type of conviction, he would be deportable."
Diaz-Orellana was convicted of assaulting the child in January, when the two were in the boy's home in Willmar.
"It's a place where the child had a right to feel safe," Crowell said.
Diaz-Orellana and the boy's parents were friends.
"This fellow took advantage of a relationship of trust," she said. As a friend, he should have protected the child, she added.
According to the complaint, Diaz-Orellana put a cloth over the child's eyes and said they were going to play a game.
His mother reported seeing marks on the child's neck and blood on his underwear around the time the assault had taken place.
Diaz-Orellana claimed he had thwarted the boy's attempts to kiss him.
The boy testified during the two-day jury trial.
"I was very impressed with the courage of this little boy and the courage of his family," said Crowell. "This took a great deal for this little boy to come forward and it took a great deal of courage for him to testify."
Crowell said the boy, who is now 7 years old, was "very small compared to that big courtroom and with all those people." He testified in a "very believable manner and told the truth of what this man had done to him."
In a ruling from the bench prior to handing down the sentence, Thompson rejected a motion from public defender John Holbrook for a new trial. The motion stated the court erred by suppressing exculpatory statements by Diaz-Orellana and that he was denied a fair trial.
Crowell said the request for a new trial was a standard post-trial motion and the court made no errors of law or procedures.
"We felt the evidence was overwhelming regarding his guilt," said Crowell. "And so did the jury."
While the sentencing closes a legal chapter, Crowell said the little boy is experiencing nightmares and the family is desperate to find ways to help him and are concerned he will "carry this the rest of his life."
According to Crowell, Diaz-Orellana told the court he was proud of his work with children in El Salvador. With this conviction and requirement to be registered as a predatory offender, it will alert authorities in the future when Diaz-Orellana is released from prison.