After a series of cases in which judges have handed out laughably short sentences to convicted rapists, a Fresno, California judge has done his bit to bring back some semblance of justice in our courtrooms.
Judge Edward Sarkisian Jr. sentenced a 41-year-old man to an extraordinary 1,503 years in jail, for raping his teenage daughter over a span of four years. It marks the longest sentence in Fresno Superior Court History, The Fresno Bee reported.
Rene Lopez had been convicted of 185 counts of felony rape back in September, to which he had pleaded not-guilty to all charges.
In a major understatement, Judge Sarkisian Jr. called Lopez a “serious danger to society” and that he had shown no remorse for his sickening actions. Instead, he had the gall to blame his own daughter for his actions.
The victim, who testified at the trial, told the court that her father raped her two to three times a week between 2009 and 2013 and that she had been sexually abused by a family friend before that.
“When my father abused me, I was young. I had no power, no voice. I was defenseless,” she told the court.
She further said that after she had managed to escape her father, he would drive to her new home and leave love songs on her voicemail.
Despite the horrifying nature of the charges against him, Lopez was offered plea deals on two occasions that may have reduced his sentence to 13 or 22 years, but he refused to make a deal.
While 1,503 years is a shocking sentence by any measure, it’s actually not the longest sentence on record.
The longest prison sentence handed down in the United States was to Oklahoma child rapist, Charles Scott Robinson, who was sentenced to 30,000 years in prison in 1994 for multiple counts of rape, as recorded by the Guinness World Records.
However, the longest sentence in history is claimed by a Thai woman named Chamoy Thipyaso. She was given 141,078 years for her role in a pyramid scheme. Perhaps Bernie Madoff, who was convicted of operating, what the New York Times called, “the largest, longest and most widespread Ponzi scheme in history” should breathe a sigh of relief given his paltry 150-year sentence.
There’s been an uproar throughout the country over judges administering light sentences in cases of sexual assault. Many people believe that some judges just don’t care, or rather, seem to skew towards how the sentence will affect the perpetrators, as opposed to how these crimes affect the victims.
They argue that it’s indicative of a pervasive rape culture where sexual assault is normalized and the concept of consent is either misunderstood, or not taken seriously.
One would hope that more judges will begin to think more like Judge Sarkisian Jr. and treat sexual assault as the heinous crime it is.