GREAT FALLS - A man has been found guilty in a child abuse case that included rubbing hot sauce in the boys' eyes.
On Thursday, a jury found Robert Holguin guilty on both counts of assault on a minor after his child victims said he rubbed hot sauce in their eyes as a form of punishment for not listening.
The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning with the verdict. His bond has been set at $50,000.
Court documents say it began back in 2016 when the Department of Family Services took a report of possible physical abuse in the home. Child Protective Services eventually got involved and removed the children, aged 5 and 8, from the home and put them in foster care.
While in foster care, a well-child check-up by a doctor revealed scarring found on the 5-year-old's back.
That same child said, "Robert did it." After the checkup, the children told their foster mom more information about their experiences with Holguin and his girlfriend.
On multiple occasions, both children told CPS Holguin put hot sauce on their eyes and on their rear ends, hit them with a belt across their rear ends and "did bad things" to them, but wouldn't specify what those bad things were.
Court documents further stated Holguin would "make them stand in the corner for hours at a time, as well as hit them in the back with a back, but usually on the unclothed butt."
In early 2017 a detective with Great Falls Police Department got involved in the case and observed several interviews with the children. By March, a search warrant was granted and when law enforcement entered the residence, they found Holguin, who they say was not wearing any pants. The pants were lying on the couch with a brown belt attached to them. It appeared to be the same belt the children had described being used on them and officers seized it as evidence.
Also found at the residence were 2 bottles of hot sauce on top of the refrigerator, and numerous bottles of alcohol open and around the home.