A Silver Spring man was sentenced Tuesday to 57 years in prison for abusing five children in a case the judge called the “most horrific” she has seen.
Adderli Cruz-Rosario, 21, who had a relationship with the children’s mother, abused a 19-month-old girl, throwing her against a bedroom wall, pressing on her chest to stop her crying and punching her, Montgomery County prosecutors said. He sexually abused four of her siblings.
Circuit Court Judge Cheryl A. McCally said the facts of the case were the worst she had seen in 33 years of practicing law. She compared Cruz-Rosario’s physical abuse of the children, including his use of hot spoons to burn them, to the mistreatment inflicted at a concentration camp.
“You took from them something you didn’t have the right to take,” McCally said of Cruz-Rosario’s abuse of the children.
During the sentencing hearing, the defense asked the judge to impose the minimum, 29-year sentence. They said Cruz-Rosario had been physically and sexually abused by relatives and others close to him as a child, up to the age of 16 or 17.
“What happened to you should not have happened” McCally said to the defendant, noting her consideration of such issues in reaching a sentence. Ultimately , she said, she decided on the maximum sentence allowed under a plea agreement because of the damage done to the children and their relatives.
Authorities have said the toddler suffered nine rib fractures and injuries to her brain, liver and pancreas. Three of the children told detectives that Cruz-Rosario had bitten and beaten them, court papers say.
Cruz-Rosario, who is a native of the Dominican Republic, will probably be deported after serving his sentence.
Speaking outside court, the victims’ mother said that she is happy there is justice for her children but that she still struggles to comprehend what Cruz-Rosario did to the children. She said she now sees the children only once a week.
The three oldest children are with their father, who was present at the sentencing. He said he is thankful that God and the judge gave justice to the family. The parents are not being identified to protect the privacy of the children.
“Right now, they are in better health physically and mentally,” the father said of the children. “I’m doing my best to provide everything my kids need in order to see them happy again.”