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"Don't Let Your Silence Drown Out Their Cries"
Seguin Gazette

Seguin Court

Guard Duty

Guardians of the Children Motorcycle Club members show solidarity for one of their adopted children at the Guadalupe County Courthouse on Wednesday. Pictured are Austin-Chapter President Bonar “Crump” Crump, John “Tool” McDonald, San Antonio Chapter Treasurer Denise “Sapphire” Patterson, Moses “Big Moe” Valesquez, San Antonio Chapter Vice President Tom “Sensei” Patterson, and San Antonio Sgt. at Arms Frank “Cisco” Carazales.

     

Bikers roar in to stand with victims

GUADALUPE COUNTY – Child victims of abuse –sexual or physical – often feel alone. With the help of advocacy groups and volunteers, they learn there is a larger support system that is behind them.

But one group based out of San Antonio, rolls into the children’s lives on motorcycles, doing what they can to make sure the children are always watched over.  The Guardians of the Children Motorcycle Club is a non-profit organization that become advocates for children of abuse.

“We get referrals through Child Safe, which is a non-profit,” said Vice President Tom “Sensei” Patterson.  “Child Safe has several has several organization that the family can pick from. It is not going to be a family that would be put off or intimidated.  They are not going to be forced into a relationship if they are uncomfortable with the type of people we look like and. are.”

After the family picks the Guardians, the club takes them in as family, “   said Denise “Sapphire” Patterson chapter treasure.

“We do a mock adoption where we bring the child into our group,” she said “We give them sunglasses, a bandana,  a little vest with a road name, we go to court with them for ever how long it takes, we gives them a teddy bear.  We pass the bear around the group, load it up with hugs and gives the bear to the child and they get to keep it to the child and they keep it.”

Throughout the year the organization hosts a number of events, Tom said.

“We get these kids together and we have Christmas parties and Easter parties”, he said.  They become part of a group where there are other kids who identify with them and know what they have been through.”

Each child also gets the chance to know a pair of members through one-on-one time. Denise said.

   

We have already built a bond with these children and they trust us and they know that we are there to support them.

John “Tool” McDonald
Guardians of the Children

“Another thing we do when we adopt a child, two people are assigned to them as personal liaisons,” she said.

“What we have done to build (the victim) up is spent a lot of time with her, personally taking her on outings, visit her at home, we do all of the GOC events too.   But the group’s biggest show of support comes during the trail, Tom said.

“We are all going to ride our motorcycles to the courthouse and make a show of force,” Tom said.

This is a vital part of who the Guardians are and what they do, said member John “Tool” McDonald.

“The child has to face the accused in court, family can’t be there. That is why we are here to offer support while they testify,” he said.  “They are by themselves and that’s where we come in. We have already built a bond with these children and they trust us and they know that we are there to support them.”

The group also stands as a road block between the accused and the child. Tom said.

“Secrecy and intimidation is the tool of the abuser.  It’s not going to stop when they get to court,” he said.  “They can intimidate the family members from giving testimony, and that weakens the case.  We are here for the counter intimidation.”

On Wednesday the group was at the Guadalupe County Courthouse for a victim, whose case  was    being handled by Guadalupe County District Attorney’s office, Denise said. 

“Heather (Hines) and Steve (DeLemos), the assistant DA’s as well as victims advocate, have been really wonderful in work with, they were wonderful in working our girl, preparing her for the possibility of testifying and very, very thankful to us,” she said.

The victim didn’t have to testify, as the accuser pleaded guilty before trail, but the group still showed up to support the child during the sentencing hearing. 

Having groups and volunteers like the Guardians or the local CASA, make a world of difference, said District Attorney Heather McMinn.

That group has been very supportive of victims and of the families.  They are special to support this process.”  She said. “We are thankful that she got all these resources out there.  So many times the victims in these types of cases age going into silence and these groups historically and physically have a strong presence are there for them in a time in this time of hurt.  They are truly an asset to our community and to the criminal justice system.

The children can remain a member of the Guardians until they are 18 years old.  But some family choose not to, Tom said.

“We do have cases where sometimes after the trail is over with the family wants to completely forget about it and all we are is a reminder and they just drift away, but we do have some who are there all through the years and stay in contact with us”,  he said.  “We set up a scholarship fund for the kids who want to go to college and we want to help them with that, too.”

“Currently we have about 26 chapters nationwide,” she said.“

“We have 12 chapter in Texas.  The San Antonio Chapter has approximately 60-70 members.”

The group not only works with children, but they work to educate the public about the realities of abuse.

“For us it is very important to educate the public,” she said. “If you are not going out and educating the community, then what are you doing about the problem?”

Anybody interested in joining the San Antonio Chapter or a chapter close to them or creating a new chapter can find more information on the club’s website at www.guardiansofthechildren.com

Marion man gets 60 years in Child sex assault case

SEGUIN – A Guadalupe County man was sentenced to Years in prison this week after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a child.

Marcos Hidalgo, 33 years of Marion, was sentence by District Judge Gary Steel on Wednesday.

A child made an outcry in July 2012 to Child Safe in San Antonio, alleging that Hidalgo sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions, said Guadalupe County Investigator Sgt. Craig Jones.

The child lives in San Antonio, but because the crime happened in Guadalupe County, the sheriff’s office investigated the Incident.

Hidalgo was arrested and charged with continuous sex abuse of a child under the age of 14, after an investigation by Investigator Zach McBride.

During the sentencing hearing the DA’s office was pressing for a steep penalty, District Attorney Heather McMinn said.

"The defense was arguing for deferred adjudication so that he could go to some of the classes and try to rehabilitate,” she said.

 "In his closing argument, Assistant District Attorney Steven Delemos asked the judge for a lengthy prison sentence.”

Delemos's closing argument was an emotional one, McMinn said.

 "Steve worked really hard not to choke up during his closing, when he was talking about how this is going to haunt this little girl forever she said.

 "Whether it is her prom, her quinceanera, her graduation, her wedding night, this will haunt her forever and we are so glad the judge gave him so long to sit and think about it in custody.”

 Also during the hearing, Steel heard some words from the child through ADA Heather Hines, McMinn said.

"The courageous little girl stood before Judge Steel as assistant district attorney Heather Hines read her victim impact statement.” she said.

 “At the conclusion the victim thanked Judge Steel, to which he smiled at the small girl and assured her 'It's over."

 On top of the 60-year sentence, Steel ordered Hidalgo to also serve 20 years concurrently for indecency with a child. 

"Our office is thankful for the 60-year sentence fudge Steel handed down  this case.” she said



Mission Statement
The mission of the Guardians of the Children (GOC) is to recognize and react to child abuse and educate the public to do the same; to serve as advocates to provide strength and stability to families in crisis; and be an answer to the prayer of an abused child or teen for courage, support and protection.