Guilty Plea in Girl’s Rape

WHEELING – A judge sentenced David Maya to six to 25 years in prison Tuesday for abducting and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl at a city playground in June after the pair met in an Internet chat room.

Maya, 24, pleaded guilty prior to sentencing by Ohio County Circuit Judge David Sims to three counts of third-degree sexual assault and one count of abduction with intent to defile. A native of Mexico, Maya was accompanied by his attorney, assistant public defender Samuel Stillwell, as well as a Spanish-speaking translator.

The courtroom audience was filled with the victim’s friends and family, as well as sexual assault counselors.

“You are a grown man – twice her age,” the victim’s mother told Maya. “You knew exactly what you were doing. You sit there and play the innocent and pitiful role. Well guess what: You’re not.”

“I can’t forget, but I can forgive you,” the victim’s father told Maya. “Hell, if I don’t, it will eat at me. I hope you get help and you think about everything you have done and the pain you caused my family.”

When Maya and the girl first encountered each other in an Internet chat room, he reportedly claimed he was younger than he actually is, while she said she was older. They soon began communicating via text message.

On June 9, Maya drove about five hours from Howard County, Md., to meet the girl on Wheeling Island.

Ohio County Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Turak said Maya spent the day trying to get the girl alone with him, asking her to get in his car and another time requesting she get a key to a family member’s home. Phone records show Maya made at least six phone calls to local hotels, presumably to secure a room for him and the girl, Turak said.

Maya then met the girl at Belle Isle Park in the early evening hours. He was playing a type of hide-and-seek game with the girl and her friends before getting her alone.

“It was during this game that the defendant took (the victim) away from the rest of her friends and got her alone by the river bank in an area where they could not be seen,” Turak told the court. “Once they were alone on this river bank, the defendant sexually assaulted” the victim multiple times.

An adult found the girl crying shortly after the crimes and reunited her with her mother, who was nearby on Wheeling Island at an outdoor event.

Maya returned to Maryland, where law enforcement arrested him on June 15 and extradited him to West Virginia.

Sims ordered that Maya register as a lifetime sex offender and be placed on supervised release for 50 years following the completion of his sentence. At the time of the crime, however, Maya was residing in the country on a visa and is expected to be deported to Mexico following the completion of his prison term.