Man gets 6.5 years in prison for sexual abuse of minor girl

A 43-year-old man who sexually abused a then-14-year-old girl in November 2013 was slapped on Friday with 6.5 years of imprisonment.

Jose Mendiola Cepeda was sentenced to 15 years in prison, all suspended except for 6.5 years, for sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree.

He was given credit for 27 days of time served.

Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo said the sentence shall be served without the possibility of parole.

Cepeda was allowed to start serving the prison term at the Department of Corrections this Friday at 8am.

After completing his prison term, he will be placed on supervised probation for 10 years.

Cepeda was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, $100 court costs, and $1,000 probation fees. He was required to pay restitution in the amount of $842 for psychological examination costs and $487 for the costs of the psychological examination report.

He was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, register with the CNMI Sex Offender Registry, and submit to an examination focusing on sex offender counseling.

During his probation, Cepeda will be prohibited from having any contact with the victim and shall stay away from her house, school, and employment.

Cepeda signed a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree on May 10, 2016.

The remaining count of sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree was dropped.

Cepeda sexually abused the victim in November 2013 on Saipan.

The plea deal recommends a sentence between five and eight years of actual jail time.

Chief Prosecutor Michele Harris, counsel for the government, recommended a sentence of eight years in prison.

Attorney Michael W. Dotts, counsel for Cepeda, recommended five-year imprisonment., characterizing Cepeda’s crime as not that of a sexual predator or pedophile Dotts said it was essentially a crime of opportunity as the two were alone on the couch.

Dotts said nothing in the record suggests that Cepeda will commit the offense again or pose a danger to the society.

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Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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