|For Immediate Release
Case # 07CF1103 March 7, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
MAN SENTENCED TO 75 TO LIFE FOR RAPING, SODOMIZING, AND ORALLY COPULATING
7-YEAR-OLD FEMALE RELATIVE
SANTA ANA – A 30-year-old man was sentenced today to 75 years to life in prison for raping, sodomizing, and orally copulating a 7-year-old female relative. Gabriel Zarate, 30, Santa Ana, was convicted January 24, 2008 of seven felony counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
The defendant’s wife had started to suspect that something was wrong when a 7-year-old relative never wanted to be left alone with Zarate. On March 19, 2006, Zarate’s wife told the defendant that she was going to the store and left multiple children alone in the home with Zarate. Instead of going to the store, Zarate’s wife went outside and hid, and then climbed through a window into the home to see what was happening. Zarate instructed two children inside the home to go play in the yard and went into the bathroom to sexually assault the little girl, locking the door behind him. Zarate’s wife put her ear to the bathroom door and heard the little girl whimpering. She ran to the kitchen and got a knife, which she used to pry open the bathroom door. She found Zarate molesting the victim in the bathtub. The girl was sexually assaulted by Zarate between February 2, 2005 and March 19, 2006.
Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown of the Sexual Assault Unit prosecuted this case.