SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A man who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old boy in a Tustin library restroom was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in prison.
Robert Howard Claudio, 25, of Anaheim Hills was convicted in September of four counts of lewd acts on a child younger than 14 and one count of kidnapping for child molesting.
In a letter to Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick H. Donahue, the victim’s mother said her son has been diagnosed with a variety of problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
“My child has gone from being a normal, happy and smart kid to being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, severe depression and (is) failing in school,” she wrote. “He has been hospitalized because he has physically hurt himself trying to erase the pain he has gone through.”
The victim’s physician said the boy may need therapy and medications for the rest of his life, his mother said.
“There isn’t a day that goes by where we are not reminded of that horrible day,” she said. “I ask that this individual never gets out so that he will not hurt any other innocent child or person again because no one should ever have to go through all my child and my family has gone through.”
To the defendant, her message was simple and direct.
She wrote: “I hope that one day you feel the same way you have made us feel, and may God forgive you because we will never forgive you.”
Claudio approached the boy at the library March 9, 2012, Deputy District Attorney Jana Hoffmann said. Claudio had the boy go into the library’s restroom, where the defendant molested him, Hoffmann said.
After the assault, the boy ran out of the library to a nearby police station. Claudio, meanwhile, flagged down a police officer to tell him that a boy had approached him in the library wanting to engage in sex acts, Hoffmann said.
Claudio initially denied molesting the boy when police questioned him but later acknowledged the sex acts. He still insisted the boy initiated everything, while also denying he kidnapped the victim, Hoffmann said.
Claudio’s attorney, Fred McBride, contested the kidnapping allegation, which elevated the punishment to a potential life sentence, Hoffmann said.
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