A 44-year-old babysitter whose first conviction was overturned was resentenced in Santa Ana on Friday to 16 years in state prison for repeatedly molesting a girl under the age of 10, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
In her second trial, Leticia Garcia was found guilty in February of one felony count of continued sexual abuse of a child, a news release from the DA’s office stated.
Garcia molested the child while she was babysitting her on several occasions over a more than four-year period between 1991 and 1995, the release stated.
On one occasion, the victim’s mother walked in on Garcia while she was sexually abusing her daughter, prosecutors said.
The mother immediately contacted the Santa Ana Police Department, but Garcia remained a fugitive until 2011, when she was arrested, the release stated.
In her first trial in 2012, Garcia was convicted of the same charge and received the same sentence.
But the Court of Appeal overturned that conviction after determining the prosecutor had prejudiced the jury against Garcia by claiming the Tustin woman had a “motive” to molest the girl because the defendant was a lesbian, the OC Register reported in August, when the appellate court ruling was issued.
At Friday’s sentencing, the victim, her mother, and two sisters delivered emotional impact statements to the court, the DA’s office said.
“It was not easy to continue my life after what she did to me,” the victim told the court. “But I chose to be a better person, to not become a child molester myself or an addict or alcoholic. Instead, I’m a good person who cares for people.”