A weeping mother told a McHenry County judge she was “in shock” when she found out her 12-year-old daughter was pregnant — and then learned the man responsible was a close family friend.
“We always trusted him, supported him … provided for him. … My husband loved him like a brother,” the woman said through a translator Wednesday at the sentencing hearing for Rafael Rodriguez-Sanchez, 41, of McCullom Lake.
Rodriguez-Sanchez, in custody since his arrest in December 2012, pleaded guilty in May to having sexual contact with a child. Wednesday he was sentenced to 15 years in prison but could remain on court supervision for the rest of his life.
He had faced a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.
The girl miscarried the baby, attorneys said.
As the girl’s mother spoke, Rodriguez-Sanchez, who was dressed in orange jail clothing, sat with his head bowed.
The mother testified that she had taken her daughter to the doctor Dec. 29, 2012, because she was feeling ill and was stunned to learn the girl was pregnant. She said her daughter cried as she told her who fathered the child.
“We all loved him,” the girl’s mother said. “How could he betray us? Abusing my daughter?”
The woman said her daughter feels “a lot of sorrow.” She became “very depressed” and aggressive, her grades dropped and she has said she would “rather die so all of this would go away.”
The girl, who did not attend the sentencing, now aspires to join the military, her mother said, so she can “become strong so nobody else ever does such a thing to her. … It hurts me to see my daughter suffer.”
Through an interpreter, Rodriguez-Sanchez told the judge he was sorry for his actions.
“I do accept responsibility,” he said.
In asking for 20 years in prison, Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Zalud said that though the act was “not forced,” what the defendant did was “selfish” and “repulsive.”
“Then she had to deal with a pregnancy and a miscarriage as a result of what he did,” Zalud said.
“Her future is completely altered. … He took her innocence.”
In asking for a lesser sentence, public defense attorney Angelo Mourelatos said Rodriguez-Sanchez had no prior criminal history and that a lengthy sentence would cause great financial hardship on his family, which includes three children.
“There are few words that can describe what he did,” Judge Sharon Prather said. “ A few that come to mind are repulsive, disgusting and unforgivable. …There is no excuse for that act.”
She added that in choosing “a few minutes of sexual gratification … (he) destroys the innocence of a young girl.”
Source: Chicago Tribune