By Ramneet Singh
WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Reed sentenced Fermin Robles Perez to 15 years in state prison in December after a jury earlier found him guilty on 16 sexual assault charges against six victims.
Many of those victims spoke at the sentencing, focusing on the personal impact it had on their lives and their relief that the accused would face long prison time.
From the initial report of a sexual assault from July 1, 2020, eight others came forward. The incidents happened from 2013 to 2020.
Jesse Ortiz III represented Perez, who was present, while Deputy District Attorneys Rachel Raymond and David Robbins prosecuted.
Before the sentencing could commence, various victim statements were read from some of the victims and their mothers. An advocate also read statements.
With a Spanish translator, one individual stated that “the most important thing is that he won’t be able to hurt any more women…when we’re parents and our children are hurt, that pain, anger, and impotence is bigger…because it makes us feel impotent to help, protect, and take care of the most valuable thing we have.”
She added that she “felt like the worst mother” for having her daughter take Perez’s help, describing how she saw her daughter “cry, suffer, not eat.” She noted Perez took advantage of “vulnerable” people.
She stated that “thanks to God, I don’t hate you” and noted that he would have to face legal ramifications, concluding “I believe if you regret what you did, you’ll be better for it.”
An observer on Zoom was visibly moved by this statement, appearing to cry.
In another statement, the victim statement noted “stomach issues” as the reason for going to Perez, and that he was able to build “trust and credibility…this was clearly a facade.”
She said Perez had the ability of “looking past the wall that people build to protect themselves only to reveal how truly vulnerable they are inside. He used my vulnerability against me and took advantage of me when I was at my lowest.”
Before the first victim came forward to authorities, she did not report the incident and tried to subdue those feelings.
After finding out about the first victim and telling her family, she said she had a “full-blown panic attack” and vividly described the experience. She reported it that day.
She noted how the sexual assault has affected her over time. She described a “constant anxiety” for which she could not explain the reason.
“I wasn’t allowed to be left alone because of how bad my anxiety was,” she said, describing her need for therapy and medication. She described the medication’s ineffectiveness and sleeping difficulties.
She described her life as being “in survival mode.” At work, she said she “can’t even tell the difference between a simple compliment or an inappropriate comment.” She added she “constantly question(s) people’s intentions, especially when it comes to men.”
She noted her mother’s presence at the time and the guilt that her mother and uncle face. She acknowledged that “if it didn’t happen to me, it would have happened to someone else.”
With her support for the maximum sentence, she stated “a monster like this does not deserve any mercy from the law. He certainly didn’t grant any mercy to his victims when he decided to sexually assault us.”
She charged Perez failed to take responsibility and disregarded “our trauma.”
Toward the end of her statement, she said “let us not forget that the only reason this man stopped sexually assaulting women was not by choice, but because he was stopped by the law.”
The advocate would go on to read two victim impact statements, noting other potential cases that went unreported; “there are countless women out there that have not been heard.” It was described as a “malice habit” and that he poses a danger to the community.
The next statement noted that she was the “whistleblower” in these matters. Directing to the other victims, she noted the importance of this decision concerning “justice.”
The statement spoke of great anxiety that caused physical and mental difficulties. She noted, “I have relinquished my fellowship with the prestigious Fulbright program because of my newfound fear to travel too far from home.”
Advocating for a maximum sentence, she said, “prison, jail, hell, I don’t care where it is.”
The last statement was from one of the victim’s mothers. She noted her love for her daughter, her successes, and her “courage.”
She explained the “suggestion of probation is an insult to everybody, every woman, and every being in this court.” She advocated for the maximum and consecutive sentences, adding “the healing of these women will be forever damaged.”
Through the statement, the observer on Zoom was putting their head down and was visibly emotional.
Before allowing the prosecution to speak on the probation report, Judge Reed established the report excluding expanding on “factors in aggravation and factors in mitigation.” At this point, Reed leaned toward “the upper term on count 11.”
Referencing Penal Code section 1203.065(a), the judge declared Perez is “not eligible for probation even with an unusual case,” for certain cases, emphasizing, “Probation is not an option in my mind.”
DDA Raymond and defense counsel Ortiz argued their reasons for sentencing. Raymond urged a 15-year state prison sentence while Ortiz asked for nine years because Perez didn’t have a “significant record,” and had letters of support.
After this, Judge Reed detailed the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the case and stated that the former was more relevant.