A 59-year-old Upland man convicted on multiple charges in the yearslong sex abuse of a male relative starting when he was just 3 years old was sentenced to at least 106 years in state prison, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
Mario Hernandez was convicted in June of three counts of sodomy with a child 10 or younger, one count of oral copulation with a child 10 or younger, and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, according to a DA’s news release.
Hernandez and his wife were the victim’s legal guardian.
The molestation began once the little boy was placed at their home as a toddler, prosecutors said.
Hernandez got the boy to submit to the sex acts by withholding food and privileges, telling the little boy, “You owe me,” according to Deputy DA Karen Schmauss, who prosecuted the case.
“He would also refuse to sign the boy’s school planner if he did not cooperate,” Schmauss said. “As the victim grew older, Hernandez threatened harm to the boy and his brother if they told anyone.”
The repeated sexual abuse continued until the victim was 10, when he disclosed it to his school friends.
“The crimes showed a high degree of cruelty, viciousness and callousness,” said Judge Stanford Reichert, who presided over the trial and gave Hernandez the maximum possible sentence — 106 years to life in state prison — under the law.
The sentencing occurred Friday.
“This defendant will never again hurt a child,” Schmauss said.
She added that the little boy is now in the care of his father and stepmother and “is doing well.”