A woman convicted of repeatedly molesting her 4-year-old niece with her husband was sentenced Thursday to 50 years in prison, bringing an end to a case that unfolded after authorities discovered a trunk full of homemade child porn movies in the couple's Orange County home.
Sheila Sikat, 28, was found guilty in December of 55 molestation charges and took responsibility during a hearing last month, saying she deserved to go to prison because she failed to protect her niece.
"I'm not going to make excuses. I failed to protect my niece and a lot of people," she said during her courtroom apology. "I hurt everybody. . . . I'm not a victim. I had my choices. I was weak."
Prosecutors had asked for 60 years; the defense argued for 20.
Sikat's husband, David Shoutyh Hwang, 36, pleaded guilty in October to 60 counts of child molestation charges and was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.
Sikat and Hwang were arrested in 2003 after a housekeeper discovered some of the videotapes while the Rancho Santa Margarita couple were honeymooning. Investigators found a locked wooden trunk they dubbed a "little chest of horrors" in the couple's bedroom closet; it contained 212 videotapes.
The tapes show Hwang molesting girls, some with Sikat in Orange County, others in earlier years with a former girlfriend.
Sikat's niece is seen in four of the tapes. She was molested five times at the couple's home starting in 2001, producing the four-hour tape that became the primary piece of evidence against the couple.