A state appeals court panel Friday upheld a Pomona man’s conviction for sexually abusing four children over a span of nearly two decades, but ordered his case to be sent back to the trial court for re-sentencing.
Romelio Corelio Espinoza, now 61, was found guilty last year of three counts of oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 or younger and five counts of a lewd or lascivious act on a child under 14.
The charges involved sexual abuse of three girls and one boy — who ranged in age between 6 and 10 — between 1997 and 2016.
Espinoza had access to the children because he was very close to each of their families, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
He was sentenced a year ago to 108 years to life in state prison and ordered to register as a lifetime sex offender.
But the three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal vacated Espinoza’s 108-year-to-life sentence, ordering a judge in Pomona to exercise his discretion to impose consecutive or concurrent terms on the lewd act counts and to determine the applicability of the state’s “one-strike” law for specified sex crimes, under which he could potentially face 25 years to life in state prison for each of the lewd act counts.