The DA said in a statement that Sandoval “wasn’t counting on his victim being brave enough to stand up to him at trial.”
The girl testified that Sandoval, now 69, would drive with one hand and touch her with the other.
Making his closing arguments, prosecutor McIlrath highlighted the defendant’s consciousness of guilt, “he told her not to tell. He told an 8-year-old girl to keep it a secret. He conditioned her,” he said.
The victim, the court heard tried to keep that secret until the alleged crimes escalated that early October when, McIlrath recounted again, that Sandoval licked his fingers, shoved his hand down the girl’s pants and underneath her panties, penetrated her and then licked his fingers again.”
Justice for the victim had been delayed, Sandoval’s first trial two years ago ended in a mistrial after he fainted.
Before the sentencing, the victim’s father addressed the judge.
The visibly upset dad giving his victim’s impact statement told the Pascagoula court that Sandoval’s crimes have “taken a toll” on his daughter and the family.
“That is something she is going to live with and we are going to live with for a long time,” he said.
“I don’t have a lot to say, but what I would like to say is Mr. Sandoval victimized my daughter and he kept victimizing her over and over (by) abusing the judicial process,” the father said.
“It has taken a toll on her. It’s taken a toll on our family.
“That is something she is going to live with and we are going to live with for a long time.”
“This is one of the most brazen and bold crimes that I have seen,” District Attorney Angel Myers McIlrath said.
“He was driving a school bus with children and molesting an 8 year old. He is the epitome of a sexual predator. When he got on that bus everyday, that was his playground.”
“He has shown no remorse.”
Sandoval [photo], “has shown no remorse,” and the judge admonished him as she she handed him a 30-year sentence to run concurrently
Sandoval did not address the court, but two of his children and his wife begged for leniency in sentencing, pointing out that he had no criminal record.
Judge Kathy Jackson had no sympathy for Sandoval as she handed him the maximum for each count.
“You have a wonderful family,” Jackson said. “(The victim) has a wonderful family. It’s just a pathetic set of facts. You brought it all on yourself.”
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