A Conover man will spend at least 18 years in prison following his conviction for the sexual and physical assaults of multiple victims during Catawba County Superior Court on Monday (March 2).
42-year-old Jose Angel Melgar Guardado was sentenced to serve 18 to 27 years by the Honorable George C. Bell, after he pleaded guilty to incest with a child, statutory rape of a child, indecent liberties with a child and two counts of assault on a child under the age of 12.
Guardado will also have to register as a sex offender for a period of 30 years and is subject to deportation upon his release from prison. The Catawba County Department of Social Services was contacted in July 2018 about instances of child neglect concerning the defendant in reference to a 13-year-old female, a nine-year old male and a five-year-old female.
During a forensic interview conducted by the Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center of Catawba County, disclosures were made by the 13-year-old female victim that she had been touched in inappropriate places and ways by the defendant, and that he made her perform various sexual acts on him before he raped her.
The male victim disclosed that he had been physically assaulted by Guardado on two occasions, including one instance when he saw the defendant sexually assaulting the 13-year-old female victim. The youngest female disclosed that she also saw the defendant inappropriately touching the oldest victim.
When interviewed by law enforcement, Guardado stated that he had started drinking and admitting to striking and touching the victims, repeatedly saying that he “made a big mistake.” The victims addressed the Court during Monday’s hearing, and Judge Bell commended them for having the courage to make their statements and confront the defendant.
Jerry LaPage handled the investigation for Conover Police Department with assistance from the Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center of Catawba County. Assistant District Attorney Scott Lippert prosecuted the case for the State, aided by Legal Assistant Tiffani DiMaggio.