Former Rialto police officer gets 6 years, 8 months in prison for sex acts with teen relative
RANCHO CUCAMONGA -- A former Rialto police officer was sentenced to more than six years in state prison Thursday for committing a series of sex acts with a teenage relative.
Theodore Ralph Fernandes, 51, of Fontana took a plea deal in February and pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual penetration against the victim's will and one count of lewd acts on a child age 14.
As part of the agreement, Fernandes also received two strikes and will have to register as a sex offender. Prosecutors said Fernandes was facing more than 40 years if he had gone to trial.
The victim first reported the crimes -- which were committed between 2002 and 2006, according to a criminal complaint by the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office -- early last year. Fontana police began investigating and spent several months completing the case due to its complexity, police said.
Around that time, Fernandes was put on administrative leave from the Rialto Police Department. He resigned later in the year following 17 years of law enforcement experience. Fernandes was arrested in May after he turned himself in at the Fontana police station. He was originally charged with 20 counts of sex crimes. The 24-year-old victim, who was 14 when the crimes began, was not at Thursday's sentencing inside the West Valley Courthouse in Rancho Cucamonga. But she wrote a letter to the court, which was read by a victim advocate.
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