By Sam Alcaraz
RIVERSIDE, CA–During the sentencing Friday here in Riverside County Superior Court of John XXX, convicted of lewd acts with a minor child, the court heard from the victim in this case, who confronted the accused.
* Note: The Vanguard will not use the real name of the accused to protect the anonymity of the victim.
The victim was only six years old when the sexual abuse by her step father began, and she announced before the court:
“I have been in so much pain since you entered my life. And even after you left, I had to spend years trying to pick up all those shattered pieces of myself that you broke. You broke me,” said the victim.
The victim said that she saw John XXX as a father growing up, and explained the manipulation she endured from someone she admired.
“I know that you molesting and raping me had nothing to do with me and it had everything to do with yourself,” said the victim.
The court then heard from several of John XXX ‘s family members, including his father and son, who attested to his remorse. John XXX was then given a chance to make a statement:
“I just want to say before I get sentenced…the remorse I have and the shame I feel is going to be with me for the rest of my life. And I know there’s a good chance that I’ll never get out of prison. I still have to say that I’m sorry, whatever that means anymore…the truth is I brought it on myself.”
Deputy District Attorney Karrie Brusselback and private defense attorney Graham Donath made final remarks before sentencing.
DDA Brusselback said, “The ongoing pain, trauma, and manipulation by this defendant warrants consecutive imposition of punishment for each of those accounts. I do not believe that there were any mitigating circumstances…the people appreciate that the defendant was brave enough to apologize today, but that does warrant incurrent sentencing.”
DDA Brusselback clarified misleading information about John XXX made during final remarks made by private defense attorney Donath.
She stated, “The defense mentioned…that there was some evidence of sexual assault…there was no direct admission that he [John XXX] was sexually assaulted. And if so, 1. What’s the veracity of that?…2. In the probation officer’s report…they specifically asked and he advised he had never been physically, sexually, and emotionally abused.”
After final remarks, Judge Bernard Schwartz said, “I don’t think there is sufficient, credible evidence, or factor in mitigation with respect to what we just discussed. But even if there were…the aggravating factors in this case far, far, far outweigh any mitigating factor.”
Judge Schwartz then addressed the victim and told her:
“These things that happened you will not define you, as you know. You are not defined by what happened to you in the past; you will be defined by what happens in the future and what you make of life…it will never completely go away. But through time and the love and affection of your family and friends, you’ll be able to get through it.”