An Oceano man convicted last month of molesting four children over a span of 18 years was sentenced to more than 130 years in prison Tuesday.
San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Rita Federman issued the sentence to Elias Ramirez Sosa, 76, after he was convicted by a jury on June 9 of eight felony counts of lewd acts with a child and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 years old.
All victims were under the age of 14 at the time of the offenses.
Sosa must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence for the continuous sexual abuse charge — 12 years — before serving eight consecutive terms of 15 years to life for the remaining counts, Deputy District Attorney Greg Devitt said.
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In other words, Sosa will spend the rest of his life in prison.
“He’ll never be set free,” Devitt said.
According to court documents, Sosa cared for the children — who were between the ages of 4 and 7 years old when Sosa began molesting them — while their parents worked. The crimes were committed continuously from 1994 to 2012.
The sexual abuse only came to light after one of the victims told a school counselor in 2012. The counselor then notified the Sheriff’s Office, which launched an investigation and found other victims.
Sosa was arrested in March 2013 and has since remained in jail on $1 million bail.
Sosa continued to deny the allegations throughout the two-week trial, Devitt said, despite testimony from all four victims detailing the abuse he committed.
“It shows the courage these victims had to come forward and report what he did,” Devitt said. “I hope the sentence gives (the victims) some comfort so that they may continue on the path toward recovery.”
He added: “It’s never too late to work to find closure for somebody who’s been molested.”
Sosa is due back in court in October for a restitution hearing.