By Julietta Bisharyan
WOODLAND – A West Sacramento man was sentenced to 21 years for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old relative. This sentence was followed by victims speaking to the court.
Judge David Rosenberg gave the defendant, Robert Curtis Gomez, the verdict on the charge of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14.
Before the sentencing, Gomez gave two handwritten letters for the court and attorneys to read. He then asked for an alternative to his 21 years, which Judge Rosenberg denied, stating that he cannot withdraw from his agreement.
Gomez claimed that he does not understand the criminal justice system and that his attorney, Lisa Lance, failed to explain his plea to him. As a result, Gomez requested a Marsden motion.
After 15 minutes of deliberating, Judge Rosenberg denied the Marsden motion and proceeded with the sentencing.
Prosecutor Carolyn Palumbo said that three victims were here to provide their victim impact statements. One of the victims was a woman who was sexually assaulted by Gomez 25 years ago when she was only 12.
Deputy Public Defender Lance objected to the mentioning of his past charges, stating that there is no relevance. Judge Rosenberg, however, declared that the woman was 12 years old at the time and deserves her closure. He agreed to listen to all three victim statements, but stated that they will make no change to the sentencing.
Prosecutor Palumbo called forth the three victims to give their victim impact statements.
The first victim to speak was the woman from 25 years ago. She described the physical and mental abuse she endured, and she is thankful to be finally getting justice. She also feels empathy for those who have experienced the same thing as she has, but is relieved that no one else will.
“We’ll be good just knowing that he won’t be good,” she stated.
The next victim to speak was the 12-year-old relative in this case. She approached the podium tearfully, holding her mother’s hand. She called Gomez “a disgrace to the world” and hoped that he “rots in hell.” The victim expressed feeling betrayed, saying that he was someone who was supposed to love and care for her. She also said that she is glad this incident cannot happen to anyone else.
Finally, the victim’s mother gave her statement, looking directly at the defendant. She said she is happy that he will be behind bars and is thankful for the first victim’s support. She pointed out that, while he will be negatively affected for 21 years, her family will be affected for life.
The defendant repeatedly nodded his head during her statement, presumably apologizing to the victim’s mother.
“Don’t say sorry because you’re not,” she concluded.
Prosecutor Palumbo mentioned that Gomez has substance abuse problems that caused him to prey on young girls. She also refuted his earlier claim about not understanding the social justice system by mentioning his previous 10-year sentencing. She ultimately described his plea request as “despicable.”
Judge Rosenberg described the whole ordeal as a tragedy all around, especially for the children. The court also denied Gomez’s probation as a result from his plea agreement. Judge Rosenberg believes that Gomez will benefit from counseling and education programs during his time in prison.
As the defendant left the courtroom, the victim’s family applauded, and Judge Rosenberg wished Gomez good luck.
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