Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Former Rialto Police Officer gets 6 years 8 months in Prison for Sex Acts with Teen Reletive.. By Lori Fowler Staff Writer.

Former Rialto police officer gets 6 years, 8 months in prison for sex acts with teen relative

Posted:   03/28/2013 03:26:13 PM PDT
Updated:   03/28/2013 03:41:00 PM PDT

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.
"I feel that even a lifetime sentence would never be punishment enough," the victim wrote. "I am satisfied though with the fact that Fernandes plead guilty and is serving time for what he did. The fact that he has to now take responsibility for his actions and reap the consequences that he thought he was above serving is justice enough for me. "
According to the probation report, Fernandes first requested sexually explicit pictures of the victim, who is identified as Jane Doe, and made inappropriate comments when she was 13 years old. That escalated to oral sex and other sex acts and eventually intercourse between the two.
Jane Doe told officials she allowed the incidents to happen because she was afraid of Fernandes and wanted to protect her family.
She also provided officials with 15 emails between herself and Fernandes that indicated an inappropriate relationship between the two, according to the probation report.
Though he had the chance, Fernandes, who was wearing a protective custody jumpsuit at the sentencing, did not address the court.
But outside the courtroom, Fernandes' family spoke for him.
"He didn't do anything illegal," said Patty Fernandes, Fernandes' sister.
Patty Fernandes called the victim a liar and added that there was no physical evidence.
Other family members said there was never any indication of sex acts going on between Fernandes and the victim, which is why they didn't believe her reports.
Following the sentencing, Jane Doe's father said his daughter is doing well and wants to move on.
"We're glad it's over, but we wish he would have gotten more time," he said.

Reach Lorivia emailor call her at 909-483-9378, or find her on Twitter@IEcourtsNow

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