Crime

Paso Robles man convicted of molestation gets 14 years in prison

A 70-year-old Paso Robles man was sentenced to 14 years in state prison Tuesday for molesting three underage relatives.

Leonard Ray Franklin pleaded guilty in April to two counts of continuous sex abuse against two children and one count of committing a lewd act against a third child under 14.

Franklin was accused of abusing the young relatives over a period of several years. Each of the victims was under the age of 14 when the crimes occurred.

Two of the victims came forward to report the abuse, said prosecutor Dan Dow in an email Wednesday, which he called “courageous” of them.

Dow added “cases of this nature are very difficult and heartbreaking.”

“The two young victims who came forward to disclose the abuse are heroes and were very courageous,” Dow wrote. “During the sentencing hearing the defendant made a verbal sentence taking full responsibility for his actions and said the victims should not feel guilty or responsible.”

The District Attorney’s Office’s case against Franklin alleged his abuse against the youngest victim began when the child was 2 years old while molestation of the two older children ended when they were 11.

However, the plea agreement convicted him of continuous sex abuse against two of the minors and a lewd act against the third child.

Franklin had faced up to 22 years in state prison.

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