A California judge decided last week to reduce the prison sentence for a man who raped a three-year-old girl, because, in the jurist's view, the defendant didn't show "callous disregard for [the victim’s] well-being" when he sodomized her in his garage.
Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly trimmed 15 years from Kevin Rojano's sentence of 25 years to life in prison, the minimum for sodomizing a child under the age of 10, ruling it would be cruel and unusual to impose the maximum sentence -- essentially because the defendant didn't behave as violently as he could have, the Orange County Register reports.
Rojano, who was convicted of lascivious acts with a child and of raping his toddler relative in early December, was accused of assaulting the young girl when she wandered into his garage while he was playing video games last June. According to prosecutors, the defendant became sexually aroused upon seeing the three-year-old child, pulled down her pants and sodomized her. The girl's mother found the garage door locked when she went to look for her daughter, and the district attorney's office claims Rojano covered the child's mouth to prevent her from screaming during the assault. He eventually let her out of the garage, but the girl's mother did not know of the assault until her child complained of pain.
But here's what Judge Kelly had to say about Rojano's actions:
[In] 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. 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.
Let's go over this again: Rojano sodomized a three-year-old. But because he didn't dedicate time to stalking her, and instead simply became aroused while playing video games, he didn't really mean to hurt her when he violently raped her. Oh, but wait, it wasn't that violent, because this wasn't "typical" or "predatory."
The judge also added that Rojano, who was also abused as a child, regretted the crime, then proceeded to diminish its seriousness some more. "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."
LAist reports that Deputy District Attorney Whitney Bokosky disagrees with the judge's decision and might plan an appeal, noting that Rojano continued to cover the child's mouth and continued the abuse after the child's mother came searching for her.
(h/t Raw Story)