Judge says mandatory sentence for man convicted of raping toddler too harsh, cuts prison time
LOS ANGELES — A man convicted of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl will see 10 years in prison — down from at least 25 — after a judge decided the minimum mandatory sentence was too much, and should be considered “cruel and unusual punishment.”
A jury found Kevin Jonas Rojan-Nieto, 20, guilty of having sexual intercourse with a child 10 years or younger and committing a lewd act with a minor under 14, KTLA reports.
According to KTLA, the minimum sentence for the case is 25 years to life in prison. However, Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly sentenced Rojan-Nieto to just 10 years in prison, saying that 25 years to life was cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution.
According to the Register, the 3-year-old girl wandered into a garage where Rojano-Nieto was playing video games. The man became sexually aroused and assaulted the girl, KTLA reports.
The judge felt that the circumstances surrounding the incident merited a different sentence.
“Although serious and despicable, this does not compare to a situation where a pedophiliac child predator preys on an innocent child,” Kelly told the Orange County Register. “There was no violence or callous disregard for (the victim’s) well-being.”
Kelly contined with the Register:
“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,” Kelly said. “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,” the newspaper reported.
The prosecutor’s office was expected to discuss an appeal of the judge’s sentence, according to the Register.