A 22-year-old Mexican man who admitted to sexually assaulting young girls he met in Balboa Park through the guise of a street performer was sentenced to seven years in prison on Thursday.
Luis Haaz-Martinez told the courtroom Thursday that he was sorry and that he can change. He kept his eyes closed while victims read their impact statements.
"I think as evidenced by the sentencing hearings this is still exceptionally emotional and raw for both victims and families," said Deputy District Attorney Trisha Amador.
The parents of two of the victims read their children's statements to Haaz-Martinez and the courtroom. One of the victims was 14 years old at the time of the attack and said she has felt confused and empty since she was violated by Haaz-Martinez.
"I think the victims say it best when they are appreciative for law enforcement's involvement and the work they did on the case," Amador said.
Haaz-Martinez' mother and aunt were also present in court and described the plaintiff as a good boy.
Police say Haaz-Martinez approached young women after performances and convinced them to walk with him to isolated areas where he would sexually assault them.
He was arrested May 3 on five felony counts stemming from assaults near the park in April 2019, including sex with a minor, sexual penetration with force, and molestation of a child or person believed to be a child. He pleaded guilty to the charges in October.
Haaz-Martinez will serve his time in prison. After that, he will be referred to the Department of Homeland Security for deportation.