Mynor Leonel Jeronimo-Velasquez, 33, pleaded guilty Wednesday, Feb. 16, to charges of raping an 11-year-old child. The rapes left the child pregnant.
Following an investigation by Maryville Police officers, law enforcement officials reported that Jeronimo-Velasquez raped the girl on two occasions. He was charged with two counts of rape of a child under the age of 13.
Jeronimo-Velasquez entered his guilty plea in Blount County Circuit Court. He will serve 30 years in prison.
The child and her family were aware of Jeronimo-Velasquez’ plea, though they were not present at the hearing.
Acting on a request that they conduct a welfare check on the child, Maryville Police officers arrived at her residence Oct. 16, 2020. The child was then eight months pregnant.
Following a hospital visit that confirmed the girl’s pregnancy, officers conducted interviews and narrowed their list of suspects down to Jeronimo-Velasquez.
During their investigation, officers discovered that Jeronimo-Velasquez, who had been a Maryville resident, had left Tennessee for Florida with a nine-year-old girl weeks before law enforcement were alerted to the 11 year old’s condition. Warrants were issued for his arrest.
Jeronimo-Velasquez was initially taken into custody Oct. 21, 2020 in south Florida, by Martin County Sheriff’s deputies and U.S. Marshals. He was later extradited to Blount County.
Jeronimo-Velasquez appeared in Judge Tammy Harrington’s courtroom Wednesday with his attorney, who requested that Jeronimo-Velasquez receive jail credit for time he had served since Oct. 2020, and an interpreter.
Judge Harrington swore in both Jeronimo- Velasquez and his interpreter.
She then confirmed his understanding that, under the terms of his plea, he would serve a 30-year sentence, register as a sex offender and submit to lifetime supervision, among other penalties. His guilty plea can also be used against him if he is charged with another crime in the future.
As Jeronimo-Velasquez acknowledged that he understood his plea, his obligations and his right to a trial, the court accepted the guilty plea and he was remanded into custody to begin serving his sentence.
The guilty plea nullifies Jeronimo-Velasquez’s rights to a trial and to appeal his sentence, though his attorney noted that whether Jeronimo-Velasquez, an undocumented immigrant, will remain in the US is uncertain.