Illegal Immigrant Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault

WTOV-9 (Steubenville, Oh.), Feb. 28, 2006

WHEELING, W.Va.—The Ohio County prosecutor says an illegal Mexican immigrant was staying with a family in the county.

The victim’s mother says she trusted that family and let her child spend the night at the home where the 10 year old girl was taken advantage of.

Through a translator, Diego Lopez-Mendez pleaded guilty to sexual assault in the second degree but also pleaded with the judge not to give an excessive sentence.

“In the pueblo where I grew up girls are usually married by 13 years old . . .I was unaware of the nature of the offense or that it was a bad crime,” said Lopez through the translator.

The judge handed down the mandatory 10-25 years sentence.

The defense attorney says Lopez accepted the plea agreement fully understanding the charges and consequences.

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