Canton Man Sentenced to Life for Sexual Assault, Victim Describes Trauma in Court

Canton Man Sentenced to Life for Sexual Assault, Victim Describes Trauma in CourtSource: Cherokee County Sheriffs Office
Chris Allen Thompson
Published on February 12, 2024

A Canton man has been sentenced to life in prison for a brutal sexual assault that occurred in November 2022. Mariano Diego-Tercero, 35, will serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars after being convicted of rape and additional charges, according to FOX 5 Atlanta. The sentence came down after a jury found him guilty on Feb. 2.

Diego-Tercero's trial revealed that he had to deceitfully gain his victim's trust before assaulting her at knifepoint. A second victim similarly testified during the trial, painting a pattern of predatory behavior. The jury took just three hours to ultimately decide Diego-Tercero's guilt, convicting him of all charges and marking an end to a chilling chapter in the community.

In a statement obtained by FOX 5 Atlanta, Assistant District Attorney Alana Driscoll called Diego-Tercero a "wolf in sheep’s clothing," highlighting the facade he created to manipulate his victim. "He found a vulnerable young woman, and he preyed upon her," Driscoll said. The conviction brings closure to the victims and their families as it rooted out a predator from their midst.

At the sentencing, the impact of Diego-Tercero's actions was evident as the survivors described the ongoing trauma they faced – a testament to their courage and the gravity of the crime. The Georgia Sun reported that Judge Ellen McElyea's life sentence decision was to fully protect not just the immediate victims, but also the community at large. The court also mandated that Diego-Tercero register as a sex offender and forbade him from contacting the victims.

The case stands as a stark reminder of the horrors of sexual violence and the importance of support systems for survivors. Groups such as LiveSafe Resources continue to provide aid and advocate for those affected to eventually heal from their experiences. With the sentencing, there is hope that similar would-be perpetrators may think twice before committing such heinous acts in the future.