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Man sentenced to 16 years in prison for sexually assaulting developmentally disabled girl

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Andrea Anderson
June 11, 2014

ELKHORN—The aunt of an 11-year-old developmentally disabled girl said her niece hasn't been the same since being sexually assaulted by Roberto Sanchez-Nova.

Before, her niece was extroverted. Now, she's introverted, the aunt told the court Wednesday.

“You changed her,” the girl's aunt said with a steady voice. “I watched her go from a bubbly, upbeat little girl … to a little girl who is quiet, withdrawn and can't make any eye contact."

Judge David Reddy sentenced Sanchez-Nova, Lake Geneva, to 16 years in prison followed by five years extended supervision. A jury found Sanchez-Nova guilty April 23 of first-degree child sexual assault to a child younger than 13.

Sanchez-Nova was arrested April 12, 2013, after the then 10-year-old told police she was “touched sexually” by Sanchez-Nova, according to the criminal complaint.

Sanchez-Nova was staying with the girl's family in Lake Geneva after being kicked out of his home, the aunt said.

After the girl told her mother that Sanchez-Nova had touched her, the mother hid in her daughter's bedroom closet to watch over her daughter.

While in the closet, the mother saw Sanchez-Nova enter the bedroom and lay on top of her daughter in the bed. The mother turned on the light and screamed at the defendant, who ran from the home, the complaint states.

The 11-year-old told a forensic interviewer that Sanchez-Nova also tried to make her perform sexual acts while she was in her bathroom and that he made her bend over her bed while he tried to take her clothes off. The incidents happened in March 2013, according to the criminal complaint.

The aunt said she will never forgive Sanchez-Nova for making her niece “carry this with her for the rest of her life.” 

“I can say this, you may or may not have done this before, but I am proud my niece came forward,” the aunt said.

The 11-year-old functions at a first-grade level and was taken advantage of for that reason, said Walworth County Deputy District Attorney Josh Grube, who prosecuted the case.

“That is exactly why he picked her--because he thought she'd be unwilling or unable to tell," Grube said.

Sanchez-Nova's actions are “deplorable,” Grube said.

“Quite simply, this defendant sexually assaulted a developmentally delayed child he was trusted to take care of,” Grube said.

Reddy read the victim impact statement aloud before sentencing Sanchez-Nova.

In it the girl said she is afraid to go outside without her brothers, “tenses up and freezes” when someone knocks on a door, is afraid of seeing Sanchez-Nova and is acting out as a result of the crime.

“Taking the innocence of a child is both vicious and aggravated,” Reddy said.

He later added “the public, particularly young children, need to be protected from manipulative defendants like this one.”



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