O.C. Officials Call for Judge Who Reduced Sentence of Child Rapist to Resign

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Orange County officials Thursday called for the resignation of a superior court judge who cut 15 years off the minimum 25 year sentence of a man convicted of sodomizing a 3-year-old girl.

This image was part of a change.org petition to recall Judge M. Marc Kelly.

This image was part of a change.org petition asking for Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly to step down.

Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly has come under fire since his decision to sentence Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto to 10 years in prison, saying it would be cruel and unusual punishment to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life.

Rojano-Nieto, 20, was found guilty on Dec. 3 of sodomizing the girl and forcing her to touch his penis.

“Although serious and despicable, this does not compare to a situation where a pedophilic child predator preys on an innocent child,” Kelly said, during Rojano-Nieto's sentencing. “There was no violence or callous disregard for (the victim’s) well-being.”

Rojano-Nieto was playing video games in his garage and became sexually aroused when the toddler, a relative of his, wandered in, according to a City News Service article posted by the Orange County Register. He then pulled the girl’s pants down and assaulted her.

Kevin Rojano-Nieto is seen in a booking photo.

Kevin Rojano-Nieto is seen in a booking photo.

At one point, Rojano-Nieto put his hands over the girl’s mouth so she couldn’t yell for her mother, who had been looking for her and was trying to get into the locked garage, the article described.

In his ruling, Kelly said the facts of Rojano-Nieto's case were not typical of a predatory, violent, child sodomy 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,” Kelly said.

"In an instant, he reacted to a sexual urge and stopped almost immediately. ... Within seconds of commencing his offense, he realized the wrongfulness of his act and stopped ... ," Kelly said.

An online petition on Change.org and a Facebook page have been set up calling for Kelly to step down following the decision.

Members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors joined grassroots organizer Bryan Scott in calling for Kelly to resign during a news conference in Santa Ana Thursday, according to a news release.

The supervisors would also support a recall effort should Kelly refuse to step down, according to the news release.


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