ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — A former Gallup paramedic convicted of raping of an 11-year-old boy in an Albuquerque arroyo was sentenced Friday to more than 40 years in prison after the victim's family gave emotional statements and the victim publicly forgave his convicted attacker in a letter.
After listening to the statements, state District Judge Kenneth Martinez sentenced Genaro Sandoval, 39, in Albuquerque District Court to 41 1/2 years in prison for criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13, kidnapping and sexual exploitation of a child.
Sandoval sat motionless as Martinez announced his decision, and members of the victim's family fought to hold back tears.
The sentence — the maximum allowed under the law — was what prosecutors had sought. Barring any successful appeals, Sandoval will spend the rest of his life as a registered sex offender.
Sandoval was convicted in January following a two-week-long trial that centered on DNA evidence.
Authorities said Sandoval was linked to the 2003 rape using DNA samples he submitted after pleading guilty in another case and DNA from the young boy's underwear.
But defense lawyers argued that the victim never identified Sandoval as the one involved in the assault.
Sandoval is also separately charged with molesting five other boys in creek beds.
Deputy District Attorney Lisa Trabaudo said Friday she was "very pleased" with the sentencing, especially since the judge agreed to give him the maximum. "He won't be able to abuse kids for a long time," she said.
Sandoval's attorney Joseph Riggs said, however, that he planned to appeal.
"At the trial the judge issued a number of rulings that denied the defendant a fair trial," Riggs said.
During sentencing, a family member read a letter from the victim, now a college student, who said the rape forever changed his life. But the victim said he has worked on forgiveness due to his Christian faith.
"While this man is a sick individual," the victim wrote, "I've decided that I forgave him."
Follow Russell Contreras at http://twitter.com/russcontreras .