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Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Raping, Impregnating 12-Year-Old Stepdaughter

A Santa Barbara County judge sentenced a man to life in prison Monday after a jury found him guilty of raping and impregnating his stepdaughter, who was 12 at the time of the crimes.

Santos Javier Guevara Oliva

Santos Javier Guevara Oliva, 35, was convicted of the crimes in March, and his conviction of life in prison without the possibility of parole made it the first non-murder case to receive such a sentence in Santa Barbara County history.

He was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14 years of age and forcible rape, and the jury deliberated for just 18 minutes before returning their verdict last month.

The jury also found true a special allegation that Oliva personally inflicted great bodily injury upon the child in the commission of the crimes.

In 2013, law enforcement officials announced that they had arrested Oliva on charges of molesting and raping a Carpinteria girl. The arrest came after a four-month investigation that led officials to Maryland, where he was taken into custody.

Investigators learned of the crimes on Jan. 23, 2013, after Oliva allegedly sexually assaulted the daughter of his girlfriend, with whom he was living.

It subsequently was revealed that he had gotten the girl pregnant, and she later had an abortion. He also molested another previous girlfriend's daughter in 2008, and both girls testified in the trial.

Oliva had fled the area when he learned he was to be questioned about the crimes, and Santa Barbara County sheriff’s detectives discovered Oliva was staying at a relative’s home in Hyattsville, Md., where he was arrested on Feb. 25 by federal immigration officers.

ICE stated that Oliva is a citizen of El Salvador and was deported from the United States as an aggravated felon in December 2010.

Oliva was convicted of grand theft and false imprisonment in Santa Barbara in 2009 and was sentenced to two years in prison.

However, at an unknown place and time, he illegally re-entered the United States and took up residence in Carpinteria, law enforcement officials said.

Oliva appeared in the courtroom of Judge Michael Carrozzo for the sentencing Monday. 

In a statement from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office sent out Monday, Carrozzo denied a contention by the defendant of cruel and unusual punishment, and stated that the sentence was appropriate considering the violent nature of the crimes committed on a vulnerable young child.

"Judge Carrozzo also noted the resilience of both the young female victims who testified to the sexual abuse at the hands of Guevara-Oliva," the statement said.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley noted the historic nature of the sentence, and that prosecutor Ben Ladinig "has now ensured that this defendant will never be able to hurt another child and will spend the rest of his life in state prison without the possibility of ever being paroled."

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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