A Baton Rouge man who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl in a sound-proof room at a church a decade ago was sentenced Wednesday to 27 years in prison after a prosecutor called him a dangerous narcissist.
"You stole my innocence and happiness from such a young age and ever since I've battled to take back the joy I once knew and felt," the victim said, looking at Kevin Abimael Guzman during his sentencing hearing. The young woman said she could not live in a world where Guzman walked free, and to not speak up "would be to put other girls in danger."
Guzman, 29, must serve his prison term without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. He also must register as a sex offender and will be electronically monitored for the rest of his life, state District Judge Fred Crifasi said.
Guzman had been convicted in 2019 by a non-unanimous jury, but that conviction was thrown out after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed split-jury verdicts. He was found guilty again last fall.
A Baton Rouge man accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl at a church in 2012 was convicted this week for a second time.
His victim testified at both trials.
"I no longer feel chained to the guilt and pain you put me through. I will walk away knowing that I alone define my life and my future and I encourage any and every young girl and boy to speak up," she said Wednesday. "I am no longer 12 years old, I have a voice that does not quiver or fear you, Kevin Guzman."
The Advocate does not identify victims of sexual crimes.
East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Melissa Morvant told Crifasi that Guzman and the victim were members of the church where the abuse occurred.
Guzman apologized to the woman and said "don't let this discourage you from your faith."
His attorney, Jim Holt, told the judge that Guzman is a remorseful first-time offender. Holt said an appeal would be filed.
Morvant offered a much different take on Guzman.
"He is a narcissist by definition. He is manipulative, and he is dangerous," she argued to the judge.
Crifasi said Guzman displayed "deliberate cruelty" to his victim, who was vulnerable due to her youth, and used his position of status or trust to groom her and then prey upon her.
The judge credited the woman's bravery and strength.
Guzman was accused of forcing the girl to perform oral sex on him twice in 2012, when she was 12 and he was 19, an arrest warrant states. One of those incidents took place in a sound-proof production room of the church, a warrant says.
Morvant said Guzman handled photography, music production and technology for the church.
After one of the assaults, Guzman told the girl no one would believe her if she told what happened, according to the warrant.
He was convicted of sexual battery on a victim under the age of 13, and sexual battery.