Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Guardian Receives 78-Year Sentence for Molesting Girl

August 25, 1994|ANN W. O'NEILL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VAN NUYS — As she was dying in January, 1990, Flora Hernandez asked her son to take care of her 13-year-old granddaughter.

*

Instead, as a jury later found, Robert Anthony Hernandez sexually molested the girl. Observing that Hernandez had violated his position of trust, Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Michael R. Hoff sentenced him Wednesday to 78 years in state prison--the maximum sentence possible.

"The defendant not only violated his vows to a dying woman, but he masqueraded as a father figure so he could intimidate and sexually abuse a young child that had been left in his care," Deputy Probation Officer Edward Marks said in a probation report recommending the maximum sentence.

Police and prosecutors say Hernandez, 32, of Canoga Park taught the teen-ager to drive him home from bars when he was drunk. He took her to motels and over a period of more than three years forced her to have sex with him. When she refused, he beat her, court records say.

Twice he impregnated her, the probation report said. She was 13 the first time, and he arranged for an abortion. He took her to the clinic in Agoura Hills and told her to lie about her age and the identity of the father. A year later, the report said, she miscarried.

A jury convicted Hernandez of 11 sex counts, including continuous sexual abuse of a child, forcible rape and sodomy.

The victim told police that her guardian first forced her to have sex with him when he came home drunk about eight months after her grandmother died. After that, she said, it happened three out of every four weekends, usually when he came home drunk about 2 a.m. on Saturdays or Sundays.

She moved out and reported the sex abuse to police in June, 1993, telling officers he "treated her more like a wife than a daughter," police reports say. He would become jealous and possessive when she talked with boys her own age and criticized the way she dressed.

*

Detective Maria Heissel agreed that Hernandez deserved the longest prison term the law allows. "He has a history of abusing women and he should be put away for as long as possible," she said in the probation officer's report.

According to the report, Hernandez had previous convictions dating from 1983 to 1991 for disturbing the peace, battery, and driving with a suspended license. When he was arrested, he had a drunk-driving case pending.

The victim told police Hernandez had taught her to drive when she was 13, telling her that if they were stopped, police wouldn't arrest her because of her age. She said she frequently drove him home from bars when she was 14.

Now 17, she is living in a foster home after changing households several times following the deaths of her mother, stepmother and grandmother. She is receiving counseling.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|