Former Pasadena city employee now heading to court for crimes

PASADENA, Texas (KTRK) -- A former longtime City of Pasadena employee expected to plead guilty Monday to indecency with a child instead will go to trial.

Joe Villanueva is charged with sexual assault of a child under 17.

Eyewitness News met his alleged victims, now young women, and their mothers at the Pasadena hotel room they had booked, hoping they would be celebrating the end of a long process.

In court Monday morning, they watched attorneys confer with the judge when they thought Villanueva, 59, would be pleading guilty to sexually victimizing one of them. Instead, they're going back to court.

"It's enough. It's just enough. It's been two years. Nothing's got resolved," said one mother, whose identity is being protected to protect the identities of the victims, Villanueva's relatives.

"Her exact words to me were, 'he touched me inappropriately down there. He touched me'," the second mother said.

Villanueva is accused of molesting three relatives when they were children. The outcries came years after the alleged crimes. He was arrested in 2015 at Pasadena City Hall where he was a longtime employee. He resigned six months after the allegations came to light.

Villanueva, a grandfather, pleaded guilty to one indecency case out of Bee County. It requires him to register as a sex offender. The Harris County case is now set for trial March 31st.

In an email to Eyewitness News, Mark Thering, Villanueva's defense attorney wrote, "Unfortunately, there is a difference of opinion as to some legal issues central to possible outcomes. I believe the Court, and the prosecution and I want any possible sentence to be a legal one."

The female victims say, despite the toll it has taken, they are prepared to wait as long as they have to for justice.

"They know what they're doing is right," said the youngest victim's mother.
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