A California judge has reduced a convicted child rapist’s jail term by 15 years, claiming the sentence is too harsh because the man did not “consciously intend to harm” the three-year-old girl he sodomized.
Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly last Friday moved to lighten 20-year-old Santa Anna resident Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto’s 25 year sentence, asserting the jail term violates the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.
Rojano-Nieto was convicted last December on counts of having sexual intercourse with a child 10 years or younger and committing a lewd act with a minor “for sodomizing a female toddler and making her touch his penis,” according to a press release from the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
The Orange County Register laid out in horrific detail an account of Rojano-Nieto’s crimes:
Rojano was playing video games in the garage of his Santa Ana home on June 4, 2014, when a 3-year-old girl, to whom he is related, wandered in to hang around, said Deputy District Attorney Whitney Bokosky. Rojano, who became sexually aroused by the child, pulled her pants down and assaulted her, Bokosky said.
The girl’s mother, meanwhile, tried to get into the garage as she looked for the child but realizing it was locked, started looking at a neighbor’s home, Bokosky said. This prompted the defendant, who had put his hands over the girl’s mouth to keep her from yelling for her mother, to have the child fondle him, Bokosky said.
Rojano then unlocked the garage door and when the mother returned, she took the girl, who appeared unharmed, into the home, Bokosky said. The crime came to light moments later when the girl complained of pain and her mother noticed that she was hurt, Bokosky said.
Judge Kelly said he felt Rojano-Nieto’s crimes exempted him from the state’s mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life, considering the fact that he did not actively prey on the child.
“[I]n looking at the facts of Mr. Rojano’s case, the manner in which this offense was committed is not typical of a predatory, violent brutal sodomy of a child case,” Kelly told The Register.
“Mr. Rojano did not seek out or stalk (the victim). He was playing video games and she wandered into the garage. He inexplicably became sexually aroused but did not appear to consciously intend to harm (the victim) when he sexually assaulted her,” Kelly reportedly stated.
“Although serious and despicable, this does not compare to a situation where a pedophilic child predator preys on an innocent child,” Kelly said. “There was no violence or callous disregard for (the victim’s) well-being.”
The judge added he took into consideration Rojano-Nieto’s upbringing, pointing out he grew up suffering family abuse which made him “insecure, socially withdrawn, timid, and extremely immature… with limited self-esteem.”
Rojano-Nieto’s sentence was subsequently reduced to a mere 10 years.
Orange County Deputy District Attorney Bokosky says the judge should have more strongly considered the fact that Rojano-Nieto attempted to silence the girl by putting his hand over her mouth, then later continued.
The DA’s office says they’re looking at appealing the judge’s ruling.