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    Leesburg man sentenced to nine years for child molestation

    A Leesburg man accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl was sentenced today in Loudoun County Circuit Court to nine years in prison.

    Hugo Sanchez, 32, was arrested May 13 by Leesburg Police after the girl said he forced her to give him a massage, forced her hands onto his genitals and sodomized her, among other offenses.

    Sanchez, an illegal Mexican immigrant, also faces deportation at the conclusion of his prison time.

    Sanchez maintained his innocence throughout the sentencing hearing before Judge Benjamin N.A. Kendrick.

    Kendrick handed down three years on each charge to run consecutively.

    Sanchez entered an Alford plea in October on three counts of indecent liberties with a child.

    An Alford plea means a defendant maintains his innocence, but admits the prosecution has enough evidence to prove that he's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The victim, now 14, testified that since the assaults she's had trouble focusing in school and trusting anyone.

    “The things that happened to me are hard to forget. I know because I've tried,” she said. “I'm still scared and cautious of everything.”

    “No kid should have to be afraid of what I've been through,” she added.

    Sanchez's defense attorney Alexis Downing said a forensic psychological evaluation of her client found he scored low in having illegal sexual tendencies and that he had no prior criminal history.

    She argued there was no independent corroboration for the crimes he was accused of and the victim had no signs of injury.

    “His story does not change one iota since this whole thing began,” Downing said, adding that the victim's story did change during questioning by law enforcement.

    Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Gigi Lawless argued that just because someone denies allegations doesn't mean they didn't do the crime.
    Only about half of sexual assault cases leave victims with injuries, she said.

    In testifying in court, Sanchez said he felt betrayed by the accusations. He said the possibility of being deported to Mexico would be a “devastating experience.”


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