Omaha Man Swipes Virgin Mary Painting for Abortion
Rapist sells $100K artwork in Mexico
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2009 5:07 PM CDT
Aurelio Vallecillo-Sanchez, 39, pleaded no contest to theft and sexual assault yesterday and faces a sentence of up to 70 years.   (Police photo)

(Newser) – An Omaha man stole a painting of the Virgin Mary to pay for the abortion of his teenage rape victim, the Omaha World-Herald reports. Aurelio Vallecillo-Sanchez, 39, described by his attorney as "remorseful and ashamed," pleaded no contest yesterday to charges of theft and sexual assault and faces up to 70 years in prison. Prosecutors say he stole The Virgin Immaculata from an Omaha cathedral to fund an abortion in Mexico.

Selling the $100,000 artwork for $3,000, Vallecillo-Sanchez dragged his 14-year-old victim to a doctor—where she refused an abortion because her baby was too far along. Ensuring her silence with threats, Vallecillo-Sanchez took a vacation, at which point the girl's family went to police. Prosecutors say he has stolen other pieces of religious art from area churches. “I would liken him to the worst,” a prosecuting attorney said.