Three women living in the Port Lavaca area northeast of Corpus Christi weren’t happy when their harassment complaints against a local man were dropped in April and he received a probated sentence on a single remaining charge of stalking.
They felt they’d gotten no protection from Calhoun County District Attorney Dan Heard.
Events seem to have proved them right, at least in the short term. Sergio Padron, 19, has admitted to investigators that, during his probation period on the stalking charge, he continued to call his accusers using increasingly offensive language. He had previously received deferred probation, meaning that if he had successfully completed his probation period, the conviction would have been removed from his record.
Now he’s set to appear before a judge on Sept. 26 for a probation revocation hearing and could be required to serve a 10-year prison sentence.
Padron was arrested in 2018 for stalking a woman in the city, first inside a Walmart and then by following her around town in his pickup truck, blinding her with his truck headlights and driving away only when she called 911 and met a law enforcement officer in a parking lot.
After Padron received probation, the calls to the other women resumed earlier this year. Law enforcement traced the calls to Padron’s residence.
Heard, the DA, said the stalking conviction will be more effective in holding Padron accountable, the newspaper reported, with a lengthy prison sentence likely for future crimes.
“It put a very big hammer over his head,” Heard told the Advocate.
One woman whose complaint was dismissed told the newspaper she is still worried about her safety.
“Because of my case being dropped, along with two others, I am back to ground zero,” said one of the victims, from Port Lavaca. “I was let down by the DA and have virtually no protection because of this.”
Chief Deputy Sheriff Johnny Krause of the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department told the Advocate he agreed those cases should have been prosecuted.
“If you’ve got multiple offenses, you should not get deferred adjudication,” Krause said. “Because you have already got cases dismissed. That right there is a favor.”