The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, August 19 – On Thursday, August 19, 2021, a jury sentenced Juan Manuel “Manny” Corona, 48, to the maximum punishment for six counts of sexual abuse of a child. Specifically, Corona was given two Life sentences for each of two counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, twenty years for each of three counts of Sexual Assault of a Child, and twenty years for Sexual Performance of a Child.
The Honorable Judge Lisa Michalk, who presided over the trial, ordered the sentences consecutively, which means that Corona must serve and complete each sentence before beginning the next. The case was investigated by Sergeant Adam Acosta, with the Montgomery County Constable’s Office, Precinct 3, and tried by Prosecutors Nancy Hebert and Gabrielle Becker of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
Investigation of Corona’s case revealed that he had sexually abused at least four victims over two decades. Corona’s pattern of abuse was first discovered in 2018, when a 14-year-old player on a girls’ private softball club came forward alleging that Corona, her softball coach, had been sexually inappropriate with her on several occasions. During the investigation, another victim, now 31 years of age, came forward.
The investigation revealed that the second victim had lived with Corona from age 13 to 19 and suffered ongoing sexual abuse throughout the years. Sergeant Acosta discovered a third victim abused by the Corona back when Corona had been her softball coach. The fourth victim testified during punishment that Corona had sexually assaulted her when she was 17 and interning at Corona’s place of business.
COVID-19 delayed the trial for over a year.
Once the trial began, the defense argued that the victims were conspiring to lie for various reasons; however, three of the women did not even know each other. The jury found the testimony of the victims credible and compelling.
In sentencing, Corona asked for mercy based on his poor health conditions. In response, the jury gave him the maximum punishment allowable by law.
After the jury delivered the sentence, the victims were allowed to read their impact statements. One victim stated, “You played the role of a trusted coach … only knowing what you had in plan all along plotting your next move… What matters most is I won today.” In a second impact statement, another victim said, “I will no longer be silent, and I’m shouting it loud. I’m breaking the silence! Can you hear me now?”
Assistant District Attorney Gabrielle Becker said, “We know that this significant sentence cannot completely undo the hurt caused to the victims by this selfish man, but we hope that the sentence will offer at least some measure of peace to them. We are grateful to law enforcement for their good efforts and to these women for their breathtaking bravery.”
Chief Prosecutor Nancy Hebert added, “This was a well-investigated and hard-fought case, and despite the delay, justice has finally arrived for these four women. When one of our victims asked if we could hear her now, my thought was ‘Absolutely. The jury, the judge, this predator, and all the rest of us have heard you, and finally, the right result has arrived. Thank you for your courage.'”
District Attorney Brett Ligon said, “We cannot always protect our children, but when we cannot protect them from assault, we can and certainly will demand an accounting from those who dare to hurt them. And that is exactly what has happened here. Not every case ends with such a definitive statement by the community, but this one certainly did. And now we hope two things at once—that these woman live good, long, and healthy lives in our community and that Juan Manuel Corona does not.”