Rowena Manuela Klinker was sentenced Thursday, January 19 to a total of 40 years in prison for sexually abusing a child that was good friends with her own children. The 49-year-old Houston woman received 20 years in prison on each of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child after pleading guilty to the indictments. Klinker was eligible for probation.
Evidence presented by prosecutors assigned to the Child Abuse Division of the Fort Bend County District Attorney's Office revealed that Klinker had repeatedly sexually abused the young girl who was close friends with the defendant's own children in 2007. They say Klinker groomed the child victim by buying her items, taking her places and supplying her with a cell phone so that Klinker could communicate with her. The defendant had contact with the victim approximately four times per week over the course of two years.
Lead prosecutor Zahra Jivani Fenelon said, "This young lady endured continual sexual abuse by someone she should have been able to trust. She is a wonderful girl who has a lot to be proud of. It took great courage to come forward and face her abuser. Because she was able to stand up for herself by telling what happened to her, she stood up for all child victims as well."
Assistant District Attorney Natalie Sarfin said, "The crimes Klinker committed are worthy of very severe sentences. Justice was done in this case."
Klinker was prosecuted in the 400th District Court before Presiding Judge Clifford J. Vacek. Aggravated sexual assault of a child is a first-degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years or life in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Under Texas parole law, the defendant must serve at least 10 years in prison before she can be considered for parole.