Trenton mom gets 30 years in prison in sex abuse case

Jerrie Whiteley, Herald Democrat
Noemi Noria talks with her attorney Steven Miears after being convicted of continual sexual assault of a child in Bonham Thursday. (Jerrie Whiteley / Herald Democrat)

BONHAM — A Trenton woman could spend the next 30 years in prison after a jury convicted her of continuous sexual assault of a child Thursday.

Noemi Noria showed no emotion either when she heard that the jury had convicted her of the charge or when 336th state District Court Laurie Blake sentenced her to 30 years in prison.

“It’s a relief for the child and his siblings,” Assistant Fannin County District Attorney Don Hoover said after the sentence.

He said the prosecution had really been for those children, so that they could see that there was some justice sought for the harm they had suffered at the hands of the people who were supposed to protect them.

“My hope is that this will give them some validation so that they can move on in life and be able to cope with this, survive it, and it not define them,” Hoover said.

Noria’s attorney, Steven Miears, said he plans to appeal his client’s conviction.

Hoover had asked Blake to sentence Noria to 50 years in prison. He stressed that the children she was responsible for protecting will deal with the lasting effects of her actions for the rest of their lives. And, he pointed out, there was evidence that she did more than fail to protect them. He said she delivered one up for abuse and took part in the abuse of the boy who has been called “Michael” during the trial.

“The law will not allow us to punish her to the degree that her children were hurt,” Hoover said. “All we can do is give her a long time to think about her actions and to send a message (her actions were) intolerable.”

Miears asked Blake to sentence his client to less time in prison. Noting that his client is 42 years old now, Miears asked that she be given some hope that she might get out by the time that she is 67 or so and have the possibility of rebuilding some sort of life. He asked that Blake “take the totality of the circumstances” in the case into consideration when sentencing Noria.

Testimony in the trial revealed that Children’s Protective Services had been involved with Noria and her six children long before her 12-year-old son Jhoel was struck by an SUV while waiting on a school bus in September 2015. That child’s death took place right in front of many of his siblings, including “Michael.” A therapist who works with “Michael” testified that the child feels extreme guilt over his older brother’s death because they were playing soccer on that morning and “Michael” told Jhoel to go get the ball when it rolled into the street.

The 12-year-old’s death led to more CPS involvement and the removal of all of the children from the home.

Stephanie Garcia testified that she looked back at the family’s CPS history when she started investigating the circumstances that led up to Jhoel’s death. She said she found that the cases began back in 1999. There were some allegations over time but then in 2007, she said CPS involvement became continuous.

She said CPS was called for a wide range of concerns about the children, including the allegations that they were unkempt to the degree that they smelled badly and went to school with socks but no shoes in freezing temperatures. She said in 2009, CPS received a report that Jhoel’s shoes were so tight that they were causing him to get blisters.

She also found a report that said Noria had told CPS that her mother had abused her oldest son, Nelson Rodriguez. There were other reports that Nelson had abused the smaller children. Then in 2013, there was a report that Jhoel, who had a learning disability, had been picked up by a stranger.

“Mom came up with a plan to keep it from happening again,” Garcia said when asked what came of that report.

The next involvement with the family and CPS was the investigation into Jhoel’s death. When asked whether she thought CPS had handled the family well, Garcia said she did not.

She said when they started investigating Jhoel’s death, CPS got inconsistent stories about where Noria was when her child was killed. She said the children were told “keep things in the family” and not to talk to CPS.

She said “Michael” is not the only one of Noria’s children to make abuse outcries. She said one of the boys said his stepfather, Pedro Noria, had abused him by sticking a glow stick in his backside. The children also leveled allegations of sexual abuse against each other.

Garcia said the kids said their mother knew about the abuse. The only female child in the family, Garcia said, reported her mother made her suck her mother’s breast while her dad watched.

Garcia said all of Noemi Noria’s rights to all of the children have been terminated.

In May, Sergio Maldonado Facundo was convicted of continuous sexual assault of a child against one of Noemi Noria’s children. Facundo was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the charge. Testimony during that trial indicated that the Norias knowingly provided their child “Michael” to Facundo to abuse.

Hoover said there was some indication from the evidence found during the investigation into the case that the family’s children were trafficked for sex.

“We don’t have any real names, who they were or where they lived or when it happened to know who those suspects are,” he said. “And again, with trafficking, I don’t know what the motivation was, if it were a monetary motivation. I don’t know. I wish I knew, but I don’t.”

He said he is sure that Noemi Noria had no problem changing partners. She had one child with one man and then several more with another before becoming involved with Pedro Noria.

“Make no mistake, she’s a strong personality,” Hoover said. “She is not weak and helpless like she would portray herself to be.”

Charges are still pending against Nelson Rodriguez pertaining to the abuse allegations his siblings have made against him.