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Romero, 24, had originally been charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of second-degree sexual abuse in connection to incidents that occurred between December 2019 and December 2020, and an incident that occurred on Nov. 27, 2021.
He accepted an offer from prosecutors and pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of attempted second-degree sexual abuse.
According to court documents, Romero was babysitting his sister’s two daughters, then seven and five years old, when the incident occurred.
He went into the bedroom where the 5-year-old was playing on her phone, got in bed with her, performed oral sex on her, and raped her, according to court documents.
According to the victim’s parents, the girls brought up the issue to them a few days after the 2021 incident. Both girls were taken to receive care from doctors at a hospital, where they both tested positive for chlamydia.
The victims’ parents made impact statements at the sentencing hearing. The father, in an emotional testimony, told the court that the past year has been extremely difficult for him and his family.
He argued that Romero shows no remorse for his actions and asked Judge Raffinan to change things for the community because “people like him [the defendant] don’t belong in our society.”
Likewise, the victims’ mother told the court “I’m here to beg [the judge] to please think of my daughters as she makes her decision… He [the defendant], was someone that was supposed to care for them and protect them, and instead damaged them for life.”
Looking into his eyes, the victims’ mother told Romero that she hopes he will feel remorse at some point, and that she prays God will forgive him for his actions.
Prosecutors asked Judge Raffinan to impose a 60 month sentence for the second-degree sexual abuse charge, a 24 month sentence for the attempted second-degree sexual abuse charge, supervised release, and for the defendant to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
Julie Swaney, Romero’s defense attorney, argued that the sentence asked for by the prosecutors is excessive for this case, stating that the defendant endured several traumatic experiences that led him to act the way he acted.
Swaney asked Judge Raffinan to leave him on release to be able to receive treatment necessary to become a better person. If the defendant is imprisoned, he will be targeted by other inmates due to the crime he confessed to, she said.
Romero told the court to tell his sister, the victims’ mother, he understood the incident was not an easy thing to deal with. He said he is also a dad and has not been able to be with his son and is worried that he will not be able to be there for the twins he’s expecting.
Romero went on to argue that if he was released, it would be his second chance at being a good father.
Judge Raffinan told the court she appreciated all statements given, and that she took them all into consideration for her imposed sentence.
Judge Raffinan sentenced Romero to a total of 84 months for both charges, with 10 year supervised release and 2 years of probation. He is also expected to register as a sex offender and undergo sex offender evaluation and treatment.
Judge Raffinan also told Romero that he is to staying away from the two victims and their parents, and is not allowed to have any unsupervised interactions with anyone under the age of 18.
The defendant, who was on release before his sentencing, was taken into custody by US Marshals to serve his sentence.Notifications are not yet available for this specific case. Please check back later for updates. Thank you.