ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former paramedic was convicted on Wednesday of raping an 11-year-old boy in an Albuquerque creek bed.
A state District Court jury found Genaro Sandoval, 39, guilty of four counts, including criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13, kidnapping and sexual exploitation of a child. The jury reached its verdict after a few hours of deliberation following a two-week long trial that centered on DNA evidence.
Authorities said Sandoval was linked to the 2003 rape using DNA samples he submitted after pleading guilty in another case and DNA from the young boy’s underwear.
Defense lawyers argued that the victim never identified Sandoval as the one involved in the assault, and that the DNA evidence may have been tainted due to a scandal at the Albuquerque Police Department’s evidence room involving allegations of theft and mismanagement.
Sandoval is scheduled to be sentenced on April 12 and faces up to 41 ½ years in the prison, authorities said. He is being held without bond.
Sandoval is also separately charged with molesting five other boys in creek beds.
The 11-year-old victim was assaulted by a man dressed in a hoodie who offered him $30 to spray paint graffiti under a bridge, authorities said. The boy told police the man assaulted him after showing him a gun.
Sandoval wasn’t linked to the assault until 2007 after he pleaded guilty to videotaping the genitals of three teens. Authorities said Sandoval was required to submit DNA samples to the FBI’s nationwide DNA index as part of his plea agreement. That’s when detectives were alerted to a match that led them to Sandoval, who was living in Gallup at the time.
The jury did not convict Sandoval on Wednesday on two counts of bribery of a witness.