July 10, 2019
A Houston man was indicted for sexual assault and robbery for sneaking into a senior-living center and pretending to be a maintenance worker to attack a 77-year-old woman.
Bryan Arellano Monasterio made his way through a lobby door and to the woman’s apartment, where he covered the peep hole and knocked on the door.
Once inside, he dragged the woman to her bedroom, raped her and robbed her of $160, threatening to kill her if she made any noise.
The brutal assault made headlines in October 2018, when the Harris County Sheriff’s Office released photos and video of a suspect entering the building in the 13800 block of Canyon Hill Drive while wearing sunglasses and a hat to conceal his identity.
A tip to Crime Stoppers of Houston cracked the case, when an anonymous caller identified Monasterio, who has later matched with DNA, as part of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office investigation.
“This defendant hurt and purposely humiliated this elderly victim and we look forward to a jury’s verdict on this despicable act,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said.
Monasterio, 29, was arrested Wednesday, a day after prosecutors presented evidence in the case to a grand jury, which voted for an indictment.
Assistant District Attorney Mary McFaden, chief of the Elderly Abuse Section, said Monasterio faces up to life in prison if convicted.
“This defendant told the victim he raped her because he had never had sex with an Asian woman,” she said. “He violated her safety zone. He violated her home. He violated her. On so many levels, this is such an egregious assault.”
Monasterio was indicted on two counts of aggravated sexual assault of an elderly person and one count of aggravated robbery of an elderly person. A judge will determine what bail to set for the defendant, but prosecutors filed a motion Wednesday asking that the amount be high.
“This is a crime of extreme violence,” the motion states. “This defendant specifically targeted an individual based on age and race. He violated her in multiple ways. He is a flight risk based on a tip that the charging deputy believes is viable that the defendant’s family was trying to raise money to send the defendant to Mexico.”
By threatening a person over 65, the crimes were elevated to first-degree felonies, which means the maximum penalty is life imprisonment instead of 20 years.
“Our elders are one of our most vulnerable communities, and we want to make sure to prosecute cases like this to the fullest extent possible so our elders can continue to live in safety, with dignity,” McFaden said.
McFaden said the reporting of crimes against the elderly are rising because of increased awareness about abuse like physical assaults or financial malfeasance. Because the number of elderly people continues to grow, they are also being targeted more often. By 2050, twenty percent of the total population in the U.S. will be 65 or older.
According to AARP, one-in-ten Americans age 60 and older have experienced some form of abuse - ranging from sexual to emotional to physical violence and financial manipulation.