ELIZABETH—A Union County man was sentenced to 79 years in prison Friday after he was convicted last October on 20 separate counts of raping four young girls, announced Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
Victor Murillo Barahona, 54, repeatedly abused four girls beginning in 2001 up until his arrest on April 14, 2008, said Assistant Prosecutor John Esmerado, who handled the case.
Murillo Barahona was arrested after one of the victims disclosed the abuse to a parent, said Esmerado. The three other victims quickly told of similar abuse to their caregivers.
“He raped these children for eight years,” said Esmerado. “It was so frequent that the children lost count. He bribed them with food and candy to get them alone and then threatened them in order to keep their silence.”
The abuse began for all but one girl at the age of 5. The fourth was abused when she turned 8 years old, said Esmerado.
The victims gave detailed accounts of the abuse to Union County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Janet Lopez. A search warrant executed at Murillo Barahona’s home uncovered two DVDs which depicted the defendant raping one of the children, said Esmerado.
The assistant prosecutor credited the courage and resiliency of the four young girls who spoke the painful truths about their experience over the last eight years. Two faced the defendant in court. The two others were so traumatized that they could not face the defendant in person and testified via closed circuit television.
Union County Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Perfilio handed down the sentence on March 5.
“He wasn’t a trusted step-grandfather,” said the judge. “He responded more as an animal with his selfish needs.”
Last October, Barahona was convicted on five counts of first degree aggravated sexual assault, seven counts of second degree aggravated sexual assault, and eight counts of third degree endangering the welfare of a minor.
Due to the number of victims and number of convictions his case represents the largest single conviction and sentence since the Union County Child Advocacy Center opened in 1994.
“This conviction and the thoroughness of the investigation showed the importance and necessity of the Child Advocacy Center,” said Romankow. “The unit works with and supports children who are victims of sexual abuse.”
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