Thursday, September 20, 2007

26 life terms

When the 11-year-old girl’s mother confronted her daughter about her suspicion that the girl’s stepfather had been abusing her, the girl at first denied it.

The mother took her for a medical examination anyway in July 2006. Not only was the stepfather’s DNA found inside the girl’s vagina, she was pregnant by him.

A Washington County jury took a very dim view of those facts at the end of a three-day trial on Wednesday. It recommended that Sixto Lopez Laines, 31, serve life in prison on each of 26 sexual assault counts—12 for sodomy and seven each for rape and object sexual penetration.

Heather Howard, the assistant commonwealth’s attorney who prosecuted the case, said Laines is an illegal immigrant who first entered the country from Mexico when he was 17. He and the girl’s mother had lived together in the county since 2001.

The assaults began in January 2004 and lasted for more than two years, Howard said. Most of them occurred while the mother was out of the home on errands, she said.

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