Child molester gets 49-plus years
The mother of one boy said a convicted child molester stole the innocence from his victims and deserved to suffer as much as they do.
"For you to go out and take that from them disgusts me. ... You disgust me," Crystal Collins told Jesus "Jesse" Andres Lopez, 39, during his sentencing Wednesday afternoon in Colusa County Superior Court.
Retired Nevada County Judge Carl Bryan apparently agreed, handing down consecutive sentences of 15 years to life plus another 19 years and four months for related charges.
Lopez showed little or no emotion during Collins' statement, or throughout the lengthy hearing that recapped each of the crimes and the prison time attached.
"The victims did a very courageous thing coming forward, which is not an easy thing to do," Deputy District Attorney Brendan Farrell said.
"I think the sentence is fair. I think Mr. Lopez ... is a predator and has proved if he is on the streets, he is a threat to children," said Farrell.
Lopez was convicted June 19 on 16 counts of sexual crimes involving seven Colusa County children, although some have since moved out of the area.
"This was the most disgusting case I have ever tried," District Attorney Poyner said following the jury conviction. "I felt sorry for the jury for having to look at and listen to what they did."
The sentence, which amounts to at least 49 years in prison, followed a motion by defense attorney Roberto Marquez for a new trial. The attorney called the testimony and evidence presented during the trial "inconsistent" and essentially asked the judge to set aside the verdict.
Bryan denied the motion, calling the testimony "sufficient and credible."
Neither was the judge swayed by the defense's efforts to show judicial discretion by making concurrent those prison terms eligible for that consideration.
Bryan noted the number of victims, the period of time over which the crimes were committed and the sophistication in planning by Lopez.
"The crimes show a degree of callousness," the judge said.
The charges range from performing a lewd act upon a child, oral copulation with a person under 14, sodomy of a disabled person, sodomy of a person under 16, exhibiting harmful material to a minor and two special allegations that triggered the life sentences.
Poyner said the case actually involved nine children, all between the ages of 10 and 16 at the time of the crimes, but two victims did not participate.
Originally charged with 20 felony counts and three special allegations on June 29, 2011, Bryan threw out one charge for lack of evidence and the jury could not reach a verdict on three counts.
The court on Wednesday dismissed the three counts the jury deadlocked on after four days of testimony and 10 hours of deliberation over two days.
The investigation began in April 2011 when one of the victims went to the Colusa police. The crimes date back to 2009.
The case was handed over to the Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center team, which was headed by Cindy Deewoody, an investigator out of the District Attorney's Office.
Williams police and the Colusa County Sheriff's Office also were involved in the investigation, Farrell said.
The abuses took place in Lopez's various residences, and one victim actually lived in the same home.