An appellate court judge Tuesday reversed an Orange County trial judge’s controversial reduced sentence of a man convicted of raping a toddler in 2014.
Kevin Rojano-Nieto was facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life in prison for sodomizing the 3-year-old girl in Santa Ana. But the judge said that sentence would be “cruel and unusual punishment” given the circumstances of the case. Judge M. Marc Kelly instead sentenced Rojano-Nieto to only 10 years in prison, causing wide-spread outcry. Orange County officials called for Kelley to resign.
Kelly was ordered to impose the 25 years to life in prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.
“This was a good day for child victims of brutal sex assaults and the people of Orange County,” District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in a statement. DA officials called the original sentence “illegal” in a news release.
The original incident occurred on June 4, 2014, when Rojano-Nieto was in a detached garage playing video games and the victim walked in, officials said.
He locked the garage door, sexually assaulted the victim and covered her mouth when her mother went to look for her.
Rojano-Nieto continued to assault the girl after her mother left to continue looking for her, officials said.
The defendant eventually let the victim out of the garage and she told her mother she was in pain. She was examined at a hospital where it was determined that she had been sodomized, officials said.
Rojano-Nieto was arrested two days later and was eventually found guilty in December.