Bell County mom feared man accused of abusing kids would post bail

Posted at 4:23 PM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 21:27:04-05

BELTON — A Bell County mom is continuing her fight for justice, after being afraid the man accused of sexually abusing her children might post bail on Thursday.

Gabriel Espino, 31, was arrested by U.S. Marshalls in November of last year, according to online court records.

He's being held at the Bell County Jail on charges of indecency with a child, and child sexual assault, third and first-degree felonies.

His ex-girlfriend, Erica Mata, is the mother of two of the victims.

“They’re scared to go out in public. My youngest daughter, she was 3 when it happened, she stopped wanting to leave the house because she thought someone was going to come grab her and continue to do that," says Mata.

25 News isn't identifying the girls, nor showing their pictures, because of the nature of the case.

“The girls did interviews, their forensic interviews, the hospital, counseling, and everything like that. Everyone thinks it’s a really strong case,” Mata says.

Espino's bond had totaled $225,000 dollars, but on Thursday the indecency charges were reduced by $25,000 meaning the total is now at $200,000.

Typically, defendants need to put down ten percent of the overall figure to post bail. It isn't uncommon for judges to reduce bail during pre-trial hearings, although felony cases are usually looked at more closely. Defendants can also be forced to undergo things like GPS monitoring.

A Belton police report indicates the initial report of abuse came in September of 2021. A lengthy police investigation eventually led to a warrant being issued, says Mata.

The mother says she is speaking out now to raise awareness and be an advocate for her children.