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| Crime |

Eric Torrez and wife Linda plead guilty to sexual assault on a child; Eric could get up to life in prison

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This week, jurors began hearing evidence against Eric and Linda Torrez, who were charged back in 2008 with sexual assaults on children in their care during the 1990s (read the Denver District Attorney's Office news release issued at the time charges were filed by clicking here). But before the trial could reach its conclusion, both of them pleaded guilty.

Two others -- Patrick Torrez and Karen Stillman -- had already entered similar pleas last fall.

Look below to see photos of Patrick, Karen and Linda, as well as the DA's office accounting of the horrendous crimes to which the various parties admitted responsibility -- and for which Eric would spend up to life in prison.

COUPLE PLEADS GUILTY IN SEXUAL ASSAULTS ON CHILDREN

A husband and wife facing trial this week for sexually assaulting two children in their care over a period of several years unexpectedly pleaded guilty today. Jurors had already heard hours of testimony when the guilty plea was offered.

Eric Torrez (dob: 10-25-62) pleaded guilty as charged to five counts of sexual assault on a child (F3 and F4), eight counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust (F3), two counts of sexual assault on a child, pattern of abuse (F3), one count of sexual assault (F3) and one count of sexual assault, position of trust -- pattern of abuse (F3).

Linda Torrez (dob: 06-11-63) pleaded guilty to sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust (F3).

The children, a girl and a boy, were left by their mother in the Torrez home in the mid-1990s and were repeatedly sexually assaulted in the home, even though the mother knew of the abuse. The children, who are now in their 20s, were able to report the abuse after escaping the home in 2008.

Two others were also charged in connection with this case; the mother of the children was charged as a complicitor, accused of aiding and abetting the assaults, and one of the Torrez's sons was also charged.

Karen Stillman (dob: 03-25-51) pleaded guilty last November to attempted child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury (F4). She is serving a 16-year prison term in the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Patrick Torrez (dob: 07-04-86), son of Eric and Linda, pleaded guilty last October to second-degree assault (F4) and contributing to the delinquency of a minor (F4). He is scheduled to appear in Denver District Court on March 25, 2010 for sentencing.

Eric and Linda Torrez are scheduled for sentencing on May 13, 2010. Eric Torrez will face an indeterminate to life sentence.

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