A 37-year-old La Palma man who raped a young female relative, who was later coached by her mother to recant her allegations, was sentenced today to 73 years to life in prison.
Juan Estrada was convicted Dec. 4 of five counts of having sex or sodomizing a victim younger than 10, a count of oral copulation and a count of lewd acts with a child, all felonies.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour, despite the girl's attempt to recant her allegations to police, Deputy District Attorney Cindy Nichols said.
Estrada was accused of having sex multiple times with the girl, beginning when she was 6 years old, and also of sodomizing her several times when she was 8 years old, Nichols said.
The girl's mother cooperated with police initially and authorities were able to get forensic evidence to prove the allegations, Nichols said.
Later, however, taped conversations in an Orange County jail between the mother and the defendant revealed that she had coaxed the girl to recant, Nichols said.
The woman also coached the defendant on how he should testify, Nichols said.
At today's sentencing hearing, the woman prodded her daughter to make a statement to Orange County Superior Court Judge Steven Bromberg. The girl told the judge that she had lied and the defendant should not go to prison.
"The facts of this case are very disturbing," Bromberg said. "They're beyond imaginable."
The judge added he was also disturbed by how the woman convinced the girl to lie during testimony.
"Imagine the damage she will sustain and she will have to deal with the guilt of displeasing (the woman) and sending (the defendant) to prison," Bromberg said. "Come Thanksgiving or Christmas and she asks where is (the defendant), I hope to God you don't say, 'You sent him to prison.' "
The sexual abuse, which happened in 2010 to 2011, began when in Los Angeles, but the family later moved to La Palma, Nichols said.
- City News Service