A Lompoc man has been ordered to state prison for 15 years to life for sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl last November, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
Daniel Cruz, 41, was sentenced earlier this week by Superior Court Judge James Iwasko in Lompoc.
In an agreement with prosecutors in late February, Cruz pleaded no contest to a charge of felony oral copulation or sexual penetration of a child under 10 years of age, according to Deputy District Attorney Brooke Gerard. A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated the same for sentencing purposes.
The child, who lives in Lompoc, was identified in court only as Jane Doe because of her age and the nature of the crime.
At sentencing, the girl’s Spanish-speaking mother addressed Cruz through a translator and explained how her daughter is now scared of people, cannot concentrate in school and gets angry easily, District Attorney Joyce Dudley said.
“You destroyed her childhood and her innocence,” the girl’s mother said in court, according to Dudley. “I want that inside prison you start to believe in God to see if he at least forgives you, because mine and my daughter’s forgiveness you will never have.”