Child sexually abused in foster care

Prosecutor says system failed victim
Updated: Tuesday, 18 Jan 2011, 10:16 PM CST
Published : Tuesday, 18 Jan 2011, 10:15 PM CST

Shannon Wolfson

Austin (KXAN) - A foster father was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a teenage girl who was placed in his care by the state of Texas.

A Hays County jury sentenced Jesus "Jesse" Aranda, of Dripping Springs, on January 14.  According to an indictment, Aranda committed the assault in April of 2008. Testimony in trial indicated he paid his foster daughter to perform oral sex on him.
Court documents said the 15-year-old was in the care of Aranda and his wife, who were foster parents to the victim and several other children. The victim was removed from her home and placed with the Aranda's after she was sexually abused.
"I was really appalled by the lack of support for this victim," said Hays County Prosecutor Cathy Compton, who said she believes the victim in this case was failed more than once by the system.
The state placed the victim with the Arandas through the Settlement Home agency in Austin. Compton said she was "appalled" that employees from the Settlement Home appeared to show support for Aranda in court.
"They sat with his family- they were there supporting him- even after the jury came back with a verdict of guilty," said Compton. "The mission is to be supportive of that child and it does appall me when people for whatever reason lose their objectivity. Maybe if you don't know who to believe, then be neutral."
Phone calls made by KXAN to the Settlement Home Director were not returned.
Aranda is not eligible for bond pending any appeal due to both the length of the sentence and the nature of the