One Year Ago Today (December 23, 2020)…A state appeals court panel upheld a Pomona man’s 105-year-to-life state prison sentence for sexually abusing four children over a span of nearly two decades.

Romelio Corelio Espinoza, who is now 63, was convicted in November 2017 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 initially sentenced to 108 years to life in state prison and ordered to register as a lifetime sex offender.

But a state appellate court panel subsequently vacated that 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. He was later sentenced to 105 years to life.

In a ruling Tuesday, the three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that the trial court had abused its discretion in imposing consecutive terms when handing down the latest sentence.

Espinoza contended in his latest appeal that the trial court failed to “adequately consider” his age at the time of his sentencing. The appellate court panel concluded that “the trial court did not abuse its discretion in imposing consecutive sentences despite appellant’s age.”

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