A 41-year-old California man has been handed a 1,503-year sentence for repeatedly raping his teenage daughter over a period of four years, in a stark departure from headlines about convicted rapists getting slaps on the wrist. Rene Lopez drew the longest known sentence handed down in Fresno Superior Court history, reports the Frenso Bee, after being convicted of 186 counts of felony sexual assault; he showed no remorse, repeatedly blamed his daughter, described her testimony as "hearsay," and turned down numerous plea deals that would have afforded him a much more lenient sentence. One such deal would have seen him go free in 13 years.
The abuse began in May 2009, when the daughter was assaulted by a family friend and Lopez "chose to turn her into a piece of property and use her to satisfy his sexual needs," per the prosecutor. The victim was sexually assaulted by her father two to three times a week for the next four years—he paid for an abortion when she became pregnant—with the abuse ending only when she fled Lopez's house. "When my father abused me, I was young," the victim, now 23, told the court. "I had no power, no voice. I was defenseless." The case is being held up in contrast to one in Montana, where a father recently received just 60 days for raping his daughter, notes the Washington Post. “Bravo. We need to clone this judge,” writes one online commenter on the Facebook page of a victims' group.