An apprentice plumber spends many years behind bars for what a district attorney in Texas recently called “Every parent’s worst nightmare.”
The judgment of February 10 condemns the apprentice to 25 years in prison for the attack on a 4-year-old girl in the family home.
On August 25, 2018, apprentice plumber Brandon Joseph Bonds, 26, of Spring Branch, Texas, assaulted the girl while his boss was in another room with the child’s parents. Branch recorded the event as it unfolded.
Harris County Attorney’s Office
According to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, Bonds and her boss, a master plumber, worked in a garage at the victim’s family home while the young girl watched television in the living room. The girl’s father reportedly asked the master plumber to check an upstairs bathroom, closing the door behind him and leaving Bonds outside.
Authorities said Bonds managed to convince the girl to unlock the door so he could enter alone, at which point he began to assault her. Bonds then went upstairs and was questioned by the girl’s father about how he got into the house.
It wasn’t until Bonds and her boss left the house that the girl told her parents what had happened. The victim was then taken to Texas Children’s Hospital, where a sexual assault nurse examiner inspected her, collected evidence and conducted an interview.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said the evidence against Bonds included DNA from the victim’s body, in addition to forensic evidence showing he videotaped the assault.
Although Bonds apparently deleted the video, Assistant District Attorney Preston Burns said the district’s Digital Forensics Unit found evidence of its existence. Burns continued the criminal case.
“Of all the child abuse cases I’ve seen, this is one of the worst because this 4-year-old girl was watching cartoons in her living room with her parents at home, and that should have been to be the safest place in the universe for her,” Burns said. “But he managed to get to her and do something terribly, horribly horrible to her.”
Ogg called the situation “every parent’s worst nightmare”.
Instead of going to trial by jury, Bonds pleaded guilty on Monday to the first-degree felony charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Advocacy prevents the girl from taking a stand.
The National Center for Victims of Crime, which has been in existence for 35 years and helps rebuild the lives of victims after sexual assault, said the “prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it often goes unreported”.
A 2010 report on “child abuse” from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau found that 9.2% of child victims had been sexually abused.
Studies conducted by David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, found that one in five girls and one in 20 boys experience sexual abuse. Children aged 7 to 13 are described as the most vulnerable.