Santa Rosa man gets 16 years in prison for molesting relative

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A 51-year-old Santa Rosa man was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years in state prison after pleading no contest to two felony charges of molesting a young relative, a Sonoma County prosecutor said.

Arturo Blancas-Lopez opted in November not to contest the charges stemming from an incident in May involving a 13-year-old girl who lived on the same property as her assailant, Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said in a statement.

The girl asked Blancas-Lopez to fix a generator that powered the trailer where she lived because she was unable to do her homework without electricity, Staebell said. The girl’s mother came home from work, encountered Blancas-Lopez leaving the trailer and “sensed something was wrong,” Staebell said.

The mother took the girl to a hospital after she said that Blancas-Lopez had “touched her inappropriately,” Staebell said. Deputies were called to the hospital, and an investigation ensued.

District Attorney Jill Ravitch said Blancas-Lopez “preyed on someone who trusted him and sought his help” and commended the girl for “showing strength during an incredibly difficult time.”

Blancas-Lopez will be required to register as a sex offender for life. While serving his sentence, he will be “prevented from victimizing anyone for a very long period of time,” Ravitch said.

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