LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – A Sunland Park man was found guilty by a Las Cruces jury of 10 counts of Criminal Sexual Contact of a minor.

Official say 44 -year-old Juan Pablo Garnica faces mandatory prison time for the multiple counts of Criminal Sexual Contact of a minor (2nd degree).

According to authorities, the Sunland Park Police were dispatched to Riverside Elementary in reference to a student who told her teacher that she was afraid of her uncle and the things that he did to her. The teacher alerted the principal who contacted the police.

The parents of the child were called to the school and during an interview it was found that 5 children lived in the household. 

“The child victim had the courage to tell her teacher, and to speak up after the threats of having her parents deported.  Child Abuse can present itself in many forms, we fought to ensure justice for the victims.  I wish to congratulate the teacher and staff at Riverside Elementary for their dedication to the children in their care.” – District Attorney Gerald Byers.

It was disclosed during the investigation that the three sisters had also been molested by their uncle Juan Pablo Garnica.  It was found that Garnica held the trust of the girls because he was their uncle as well as the volunteer basketball coach at their Elementary school. He threatened the girls that if they had told anyone, he would call Border Patrol and have their parents deported. 

Due to the girls’ disclosures during the forensic interview at La Piñon in Las Cruces found that Garnica began inappropriately touching the girls around the same age and lost interest once they grew older.

The Third Judicial district will hold the sentencing at a later date.

For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.