By Koda Slingluff
SACRAMENTO, CA — A defendant in a child molestation case had to listen to multiple victim impact statements read aloud by the victims and their guardian in the courtroom this past Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court, Dept. 61.
Diandre Cobb is accused of molesting two girls, starting at the ages of six and nine, and continuing for several years. Deputy District Attorney Dinah Mielke specified that a third victim had also decided to press charges, but that the crimes addressed at this hearing concerned only the first two victims.
Assistant Public Defender Michael Mullan, speaking for Cobb, requested release of Mullan, claiming the defendant was not a threat to public safety. Before determining release, Judge Geoffrey Goodman heard three victim impact statements.
“I wasn’t even double digits. You’re a liar, a manipulator, and you’re horrible for what you did. You should never be near another little girl again. My kids will never go through what I did. My childhood ended at six, and nothing will bring it back. The world shouldn’t have to always say ‘protect your daughters, educate your sons,’” Mary read aloud.
Then, Mary read her own statement. Mary was a relative of the children, and became their legal guardian two years ago. Previously, the girls had lived with Cobb.
Within those two years, she was contacted multiple times by Cobb requesting to interact with the girls. When one of the girls had turned 14, he even sent a message asking her to be his girlfriend. She now flinches whenever she is touched, and was recently hospitalized for suicidal thoughts.
Mary continued that, when the older child lived with Cobb, “she would put a mattress against the door to protect herself” at night.
Voice breaking, she concluded her statement, “He broke something that was supposed to be sacred. He took something that was irreplaceable. The cost cannot be fully paid with prison, but I feel comfort that he will never touch a little girl again.”
The final statement came from one of the girls herself, “Abigail” (not her real name). Judge Goodman was clear that Abigail did not need to read the statement unless she wanted to, saying, “If it’s uncomfortable for you, we do have the statement.”
Abigail decided to read it out. The defendant Cobb watched from inside the courtroom.
“Diandre Cobb… it takes everything in my body not to shake or flinch each time a grown man comes near me. I have panic attacks, extreme anxiety, and even in my dreams you still haunt my nightmares. I will never forgive you or anyone like you. But I will forgive myself.”
Abigail ended her statement with powerful words, her voice staying strong and her face rigid behind the screen, stating: “In memory of the little girl I used to be, I hope you rot. May God judge you. May He judge you well. May He save us all. Thank you, your Honor.”
Judge Goodman thanked the victims for speaking. He maintained his professionalism, but was clearly moved by Abigail’s statement. Goodman denied probation and imposed a 27-year prison sentence. Additionally, he ordered restitution to the victims.
When prosecutor Mielke told Judge Goodman “that’s not something they’re currently requesting,” instead of changing his mind he decided to rule that the restitution could go to the victim compensation board, which helps to pay bills that result from violent crimes, if the family did not want it.
Otherwise, Goodman wanted the money to go to “any expenses that are reasonably related” to the suffering of the brave victims that spoke.
Koda is a junior at UC Berkeley, majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Rhetoric. He is from Ventura, CA.
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