Dad Sentenced to 1,503 Years in Prison After Raping His Daughter for Years
Rene Lopez, who a jury found guilty on 186 felony counts of sexual assault last month, was sentenced on Friday in Fresno
A California man has been sentenced to 1,503 consecutive years in prison — an ignoble record — for the repeated sexual assault of his daughter, who he treated as “property,” PEOPLE confirms.
Rene Lopez, 41, was found guilty on 186 felony counts of sexual assault last month, including 22 counts of rape of a minor, and was sentenced on Friday by judge Edward Sarkisian to the aggravated term on each count, Lopez’s public defender, Peter Pacheco, tells PEOPLE.
Lopez’s prison sentence is the longest-known in the history of California’s Fresno Superior Court, according to the Associated Press. Pacheco says he plans to appeal, and that his client is innocent.
According to court records, Lopez sexually assaulted his daughter — who is now 23 — multiple times a week from May 2009 to May 2013. Some of the dates of the felony assaults included major American holidays.
Lopez was arrested in November 2013 after his daughter called police in Fresno, California, to report the abuse, records show.
His lengthy sentence was handed down by Sarkisian, who called him a “serious danger to society” who never showed remorse for what he did, the Fresno Bee reports.
Fresno County Deputy District Attorney Nicole Galstan said during trial that Lopez’s daughter, who has not been publicly identified, was treated like the man’s “piece of property” and used only to “satisfy his sexual needs.”
Further, Lopez’s daughter alleged that he impregnated her and then paid for an abortion, reports the Bee.
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“When my father abused me, I was young. I had no power, no voice,” Lopez’s daughter told the judge, according to CBS News. “I was defenseless.”
Galstan asked for the maximum sentence, the Bee reports, because Lopez “ruined her teenage years and made her feel like it was her fault.”
The decision follows scrutiny for high-profile sentences in previous sexual assault cases — including the six months of prison time handed down to convicted rapist and former Stanford University student Brock Turner, and the recent sentencing of a Montana man who raped his 12-year-old daughter to 60 days in jail.
Pacheco tells PEOPLE that Lopez maintains his innocence and initially turned down a plea deal for 22 years in prison.
Pacheo says that he plans to appeal the sentence because his “client believes the evidence against him was not enough to convict.” Further, Lopez wrote in a letter to the judge that he didn’t get a fair trial, and alleged that his daughter had lied under oath, the Bee reports.
Galstan told PEOPLE in a statement, “The defendant raped the victim over a four year period and has failed to show any remorse. I believe that the sentence imposed reflects the defendant’s egregious conduct. In a case like this there are no winners. However, it is my hope that the trial and sentence will provide the victim with closure and help her move forward.”