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Jorge Miguel Gallegos' booking photo.
By VIK JOLLY / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
SANTA ANA – A Superior Court judge sentenced a man to 40 years and 8 months to life in state prison Friday for sexually assaulting an 8-year-old female relative on Christmas Eve while family members slept in other rooms, calling his conduct "depraved."
Jorge Miguel Gallegos, 38, of Santa Ana, was convicted in April of six felony counts, including sexual assault, lewd acts on a child under 14, and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.
Published: May 11, 2012 Updated: 2:56 p.m.
By VIK JOLLY / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTE
The victim's life is turned upside down and her family is destroyed by the assault, Judge Carla Singer told Gallegos at the sentencing.
"The fact that you'd do this to a child is unbelievable," she said. "It was depraved."
At about 11 p.m. on Dec. 24, 2009, Gallegos took the victim into his kitchen, where he sexually assaulted the child after other family members had gone to sleep, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said.
His wife walked into the kitchen and witnessed the molestation, prosecutors said. Gallegos ripped the telephone from the wall and threatened his wife not to tell anyone, before fleeing the scene and going to a friend's house.
Gallegos' wife called 911 and Santa Ana police officers arrested the defendant in the early hours of Christmas Day.
A subsequent investigation by detectives revealed a second unreported sexual assault when, between September and December 2009, Gallegos sexually assaulted the girl in his home, including the same conduct as on Christmas Eve, prosecutors said.
Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney told the court before sentencing "even among evildoers, Mr. Gallegos' conduct is extraordinary."
He violated the girl, who called him father, in "unspeakable ways," the prosecutor said. The conduct is "unimaginable; it's subhuman ... This is not a man who can be trusted around the rest of us."
Deputy Public Defender Charles Hasse told the judge he does not want to be dismissive of what Gallegos did or rationalize his behavior, but a 25 years to life sentence would be "more than ample."
That's the sentence someone convicted of a first-degree murder would receive.
"The girl's alive and she's doing relatively well," Hasse said, adding he did not believe "she's doomed for the rest of her life."
Judge Singer said because Gallegos is an undocumented immigrant, if he's paroled he will be deported immediately.
Judge calls Christmas Eve rape ‘depraved’ | gallegos, christmas, conduct - News - The Orange County Register