Man will serve 21-years-to-life in abuse

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comDecember 11, 2012 

— A 41-year-old man was sentenced to 21 years to life in prison on Tuesday for molesting an 11-year-old girl.

Judge John Kirihara sentenced Francisco Padilla, who was convicted by a Merced County jury on five molestation counts in October. The counts included aggravated sexual assault of a child, lewd and lascivious behavior with a child, and sodomy.

Padilla said nothing during the hearing, and members of the victim's family did not present any statements in court.

He will be eligible for parole after serving about 20 years in prison. If released, he'll have to register as a convicted sex offender.

Prosecutor Monika Saini said the incidents happened on two occasions in 2008 and 2009 in Stevinson and Hilmar, where the defendant lived.

The Merced County Sheriff's Department was notified about the abuse after the victim told a friend, who informed officials at her school.

City editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-9803 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.