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A Pittsburg man was sentenced to 250 years to life in state prison today for repeatedly molesting two young girls over a five-year period. A jury in September convicted 29-year-old Valentin Barreto, a Mexican national, on 20 felony sexual assault counts for molesting two girls beginning when they were six and seven years old, Deputy District Attorney Johanna Schonfield said.
“Your sentence is really small in comparison to the lifetime of trauma that they’re going to suffer,” said Judge John Laettner, addressing the defendant after handing down the sentence in Contra Costa County Superior Court this afternoon. The judge sentenced Barreto to several consecutive sentences for the 20 sex crimes, which included four counts of forcible lewd acts on a child under 10 years old, six counts of a lewd act on a child under 14, and three counts of aggravated sexual assault for raping and orally copulating a child under 14.
Barreto began sexually assaulting his two young victims, referred to in court as Jane Doe, in 2005 until his arrest in July 2010, Schonfield said. Over several weeks of testimony, the victims recalled the repeated sexual assaults, during which Barreto would sometimes threaten them and warn them against reporting the molestation, Laettner said. Before handing down the sentence today, the judge also heard statements from a handful of Barreto’s friends and family members, who insisted that the 29-year-old had always been a good husband, father and friend.
Defense attorney Diana Garrido said this afternoon that Barreto had no prior criminal history and does not pose a risk to society. She requested a 105-year-to-life prison term and said a higher sentence would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Schonfield countered that “what (Barreto) did in this case is the worst thing you can do to a human being…I don’t think the defendant could have enough time to balance what he has done.”
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