DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — A Walton County jury found Victor William Castro-Mendez guilty of lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim 12 years old or younger, according to a press release from the First Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office. He was also found guilty of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim between the ages of 12 and 16.

He faces 25 years to life in state prison, as well as being labeled a sexual predator. He will be sentenced Aug. 20.

In July 2018, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the defendant following a disclosure by a 12-year-old female victim that the defendant had been abusing her for years.

The child was interviewed at the Children’s Advocacy Center the following day and was able to tell investigators that starting in the fifth grade, when the child was 10, the defendant would abuse her at the bus stop when they were alone. Furthermore, the child was able to tell investigators the last time the suspect had abused her was four days prior to the interview while she was 12.

 The defendant was convicted following a joint effort from the State Attorney’s Office, Walton County Sheriff’s Office and the Children’s Advocacy Center.