A California Judge Rules on Toddler Rape

Rape is not inherently hurtful to a child in the great state of California. So declared a solon of our vaunted judiciary. Members of the National Man Boy Love Association and pedophiles everywhere must be popping champagne corks! 

In a stunning decision on April 3, 2015, Orange County California Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly reduced the mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 years to just 10 years for a man convicted of sodomizing a three-year-old girl. 

The criminal, 20-year-old Kevin Jonas Rojano, was playing video games in his garage when the three-year-old child, to whom he was related, wandered in. He claims to have become "inexplicably aroused." He forced the child to touch his genitals and proceeded to anally rape her. During the commission of this brutal crime, he put his hand over the toddler's mouth so that she could not scream out to her mother who was just outside searching for her daughter. The crime was uncovered by the mother after her daughter complained of pain. Anal trauma and tearing were visible when she examined her daughter's body. The child was hospitalized.

The prosecutor did her job. The jury did its job. The defendant was convicted of sexual intercourse with a child under 10 years old and of committing a lewd act with a minor 14 years old or younger.

Under California law, the minimum mandatory sentence for conviction of these crimes is 25 years to life. For reasons that are far more inexplicable than the criminal's sexual arousal, Judge Kelly found a 25-year minimum sentence to be "cruel and unusual punishment" in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The predicate for this conclusion is absolutely confounding and quite instructive for child rapists. Among the compelling factors cited by Judge Kelly in justifying the reduced minimum sentence were: the child came to him; he did not "stalk" her, the defendant's arousal was "inexplicable," he did not appear to consciously intend harm to the child when he anally raped her, the defendant "almost immediately stopped and realized the wrongfulness of his act," and "there was no violence or callous disregard for the victim's well-being." The judge further opined that the defendant had shown extreme remorse. Further announced bases for judicial sympathy included that Rojano came from a dysfunctional family, and that he was "an insecure, socially withdrawn, timid and extremely immature young man with limited self-esteem."

Let's examine these factors through the lens of common sense. The lack of stalking is indicative of nothing so much as Rojano's luck. A three-year-old toddler is among the most curious creatures on the planet. What child would not wander in to an open garage where someone was playing a game? As for the "inexplicable arousal," is there a child sexual predator anywhere who could not claim he was "surprised" either because he had "conquered his problem" or because it was the "first time" he had that reaction? Remorsefulness. Really? Remorse means a plea of guilty to the crimes; not fighting the charges by forcing the People to the time and expense of a jury trial. Rojano's dysfunctional family background, his immaturity and low self-esteem are descriptors that could easily apply to a good portion of the 20-year-old males who inhabit the earth today.

Among all of the convoluted reasons given by the judge, perhaps the most repugnant is his conclusion that "there was no violence or callous disregard for the victim's well-being." Seriously? Anal rape of a 3-year-old child is not inherently violent and in depraved disregard of the child's well-being?  What civilized adult could utter such revolting nonsense? Besides the physical pain of the bodily violation, can we not also presume she will deal with emotional trauma from the brutal attack well into adulthood? 

This is not the first time Judge Kelly has shown stupefying sympathy for a child predator. In a March 2010 case, 51-year-old California Highway Patrol Lieutenant Stephen Robert Deck, was caught attempting to have sex with an undercover decoy posing as a 13-year-old girl during a Laguna Beach child molester police sting operation. Since 2006, Deck had been engaged in sexually explicit internet communications with females he thought to be underage. The day of the sting, he arrived at the meeting place with condoms, a digital camera, and key lime pie. The prosecutor and probation departments urged serious punishment. The prosecutor asked for a prison sentence, referencing among other factors, Deck's insistence on his innocence and loss of a 2009 jury trial on lewd conduct charges. The shameless Deck asked the court for probation and Judge Kelly obliged. Appropriate punishment in the court's opinion consisted of 5 years’ probation, payment of a $200 fine, registration as a sex offender, supervised-only interactions with children or during internet searches, and one year in jail, including time served. Deck's badge turned out to be quite the shield in Judge Kelly's court.

The appellate courts in California and the outraged citizens of Orange County will have the final say in the Rojano case. Judge Kelly, appointed to the bench in 2002 by former governor Gray Davis, is now the subject of recall petitions. The district attorney certainly should appeal this egregious sentence. 

Even though this heinous ruling ultimately might be corrected, damage has been done. Judge Kelly has given a fine roadmap to sexual predators. At least in his court, "surprise arousal," the natural curiosity of a child, and brutal rape without use of a weapon will auger well for leniency. What a sickening message for a jurist to send to sexual perverts. Respect for the rule of law is also diminished by this utterly indefensible ruling.