Young Victim’s Courageous Testimony Results in Consecutive Jail Sentences for New Bedford Child Molester

Bristol County District Attorney’s Office

Thomas M. Quinn III
District Attorney

Press Release
March 8, 2023

A 50-year-old New Bedford man was sentenced to the maximum allowable jail sentence last week after being convicted at trial in New Bedford District Court of molesting his pre-teen stepdaughter on multiple occasions, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

A Jury of Six in New Bedford District Court last week deliberated for about two hours before finding Gerson Pascual-Santana guilty of all three counts of Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under the Age of 14.  The trial was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Karlyn Butler.

After the conviction was announced, Judge Douglas Darnbrough sentenced the defendant to the maximum two-and-a-half years in the House of Corrections on count one, an additional one year in the House of Corrections on count two and eight years of probation on count three.  The defendant will serve three-and-a-half years in jail, to be followed by eight years of probation.  He also must register as a sex offender, have no contact with the victim and undergo sex offender treatment.

On March 11, 2020, the 10-year-old girl was in school taking part in a classroom exercise called “Warrior Wednesday,” during which students are encouraged top share examples of times they showed bravery by overcoming something difficult.  It was at this time that the victim disclosed the abuse to her teacher and class.

After the teacher reported the matter to the authorities, the victim took part in a forensic interview at the Bristol County Children’s Advocacy Center, where she recounted at least three incidents of molestation.

Despite the fact that her mother and grandparents all testified on behalf of the defendant during the trial, the young victim overcame these difficult obstacles and testified in open court about the abuse she suffered through.  Her courageous and credible testimony was supported by that of her teacher, whose own testimony corroborated what the girl told the jury.

“The defendant, who unfortunately had access to the victim due to his relationship with her mother, molested the victim on several occasions. It’s extremely sad that the victim’s mother and grandparents supported the defendant in this case,” District Attorney Quinn said.  “I commend the victim for persevering through very difficult circumstances.  She was clearly vindicated by the jury’s verdict. I hope by the courage she has displayed that she can move forward with her life.”


Gregg Miliote

Director of Communications