ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (KTLA) - A petition was created to force a superior court judge to step down from the bench after he slashed 15 years off the minimum 25 year sentence of a man convicted of sodomizing a 3-year-old girl.
Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly is facing criticism after deciding to sentence 20-year-old Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto to 10 years in prison.
On Dec. 3, Rojano-Nieto was found guilty of sodomizing the girl and forcing her to touch his penis.
"Although serious and despicable, this does not compare to a situation where a pedophilic child predator preys on an innocent child," Kelly said during the sentencing. "There was no violence or callous disregard for [the victim's] well-being."
According to an article posted by the Orange County Register, Rojano-Nieto was playing video games in his garage and became sexually aroused when the toddler, who is a relative, wandered into the garage.
Prosecutors say he then pulled the girl's pants down and assaulted her.
They say he also put his hands over the victim's mouth so she couldn't yell for her mother, who had been looking for her.
According to KTLA, Kelly said the facts of case were not typical of a predatory and violent child sodomy case.
"Mr. Rojano did not seek out or stalk [the victim.] He was playing video games and she wandered into the garage. He inexplicably became sexually aroused but did not appear to consciously intend to harm [the victim] when he sexually assaulted her," Kelly said in his ruling.
"In an instant, he reacted to a sexual urge and stopped almost immediately... Within seconds of commencing his offense, he realized the wrongfulness of his act and stopped," Kelly said.
An online petition and Facebook page have been created, calling for Kelly to step down from his position.