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National Briefing / Nebraska

Sacred painting no help to rapist

August 23, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

A man who stole a painting of the Virgin Mary from a church to finance an abortion for a teen he had raped has been convicted of first-degree sexual assault and felony theft. Aurelio Vallerillo-Sanchez, 39, of Omaha pleaded no contest to the charges and faces up to 70 years in prison, Douglas County prosecuting attorney Brenda Beadle said.

Beadle said Vallerillo-Sanchez fled to Mexico with the 300-year-old painting worth $100,000 and the pregnant teen in March 2007. He sold the painting for $3,000 in Mexico, his daughter told police.

When an abortion wasn't possible, the teen returned to Nebraska after giving birth, the prosecutor said. Vallerillo-Sanchez was arrested in February after DNA linked him to the September 2006 assault of the girl, then 14.

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