A deported ex-con, who raped and ultimately impregnated an underage girl after illegally returning to California from Mexico, Friday became the first defendant in Orange County to get life in prison without the possibility of parole for a sex crime.
Demetrio Rojas Perez, 40, of Santa Ana, was convicted in June of raping the girl, beginning when she was 12 years old, Deputy District Attorney Mena Guirguis said.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Cheri Pham handed down the sentence, the only one available under state law, Guirguis said.
“It’s the highest form of punishment we have short of death, and if anyone deserves it, it’s him,” the prosecutor said.
Guirguis said the defendant knew the girl before he began sexually assaulting her, but declined to say more because it might “out” her publicly in some way.
Perez was deported in 2013 after a conviction in a domestic violence case, Guirguis said. The defendant made his way back to California that year and began sexually assaulting the victim that December, the prosecutor said.
When the girl attempted to resist his attacks, the defendant would cover her mouth and threaten to kill her and her family if she notified anyone, Guirguis said.
The victim testified she was sexually assaulted at least 20 times.
When she learned in mid-2014 that she was pregnant, she told authorities, and DNA evidence confirmed the defendant was the father, Guirguis said.
The victim is “an amazing young girl” with the strength to get through her ordeal, Guirguis said.
— City News Service