A Rio Arriba County man found guilty of raping a child was sentenced Wednesday to spend 34 years in prison.
Andrew Sandoval, 38, had been accused of raping the girl on multiple occasions between January and March 2019 and giving her alcohol and marijuana.
In September, a jury convicted him of three first-degree counts of raping a child under 13, two counts of raping a child between 13 and 18, and three counts of criminal sexual contact with a child under 13. He also was found guilty of two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
An evaluation ordered by state District Judge Jason Lidyard after Sandoval’s trial diagnosed him with pedophilia, noting he showed a lack of remorse. Sandoval claimed the girl had made sexual advances toward him and that he was the victim.
Sandoval faced up to 111 years in prison. Assistant District Attorney Douglas Wood urged the court to consider the maximum sentence, given the severity of the charges and Sandoval’s lack of remorse.
The victim’s grandmother also pushed for the maximum sentence, recounting the day she learned about the girl’s abuse as a day she’ll never forget.
Lidyard instead sentenced Sandoval to 60 years, with 24 years suspended and two years of credit for the time he has spent in jail since his arrest in May 2019.
Sandoval’s family spoke on his behalf Wednesday, at times attempting to discredit the girl. Lidyard interrupted both Sandoval’s son and his attorney, John Ronald Boyd.
“This isn’t your opportunity to try to bring out anything that wasn’t presented during the trial … and this certainly isn’t your opportunity to be mean to the individual involved in this case,” the judge told Sandoval’s son.
Sandoval’s parents, sister and son all described him as a kind and generous man, and they asked that he be allowed to return home so he could receive treatment and a second chance.
“There are things that stick out to the court that that idea of rehabilitation and treatment is not likely to take hold,” he said.
In his statement, Sandoval expressed regret and pleaded for a second chance at life with the support of his family.
“That really isn’t me. Things in my life just got out of control, but that’s not who I am,” Sandoval said. “I’m a caring, loving father, and I love my kids.”
Lidyard noted Sandoval’s evaluation said he believed the victim had “asked for” and “wanted” the sexual abuse.
The judge said Sandoval had groomed the girl for abuse while fully aware of her age.
“You were doing what you needed to do to have her feel like you cared for her,” Lidyard said. “You did the things that one would do to build trust with this child, all the while knowing how old she was.”
The girl said at the sentencing hearing her life had been uprooted by Sandoval’s actions, but she is now doing better.
She plans to go to college and join the Air Force, she said.