For Immediate Release
<p>Child Molester Convicted of Abusing Two Young Females Sentenced to 210 Years-to-Life in Prison </p>
Santa Rosa,CA | December 10, 2021
Defendant Jesus Paniagua- Rojas, 51 years old of Santa Rosa, was sentenced yesterday by the Honorable Peter Ottenweller to serve 210 years-to-life in state prison after having been found guilty by a Sonoma County jury in September of committing eighteen felony sex offenses against two children.
District Attorney Jill Ravitch stated, “As noted by the family at yesterday’s sentencing hearing, the strength of these two young victims brought this predator to justice. These horrific acts should keep this man incarcerated for the rest of his life.”
The case stemmed from an investigation by Santa Rosa Police Department into the sexual abuse of a young female with whom Paniagua-Rojas had recurring access. During the investigation, it was discovered that a second victim had also been sexually assaulted by Paniagua- Rojas. During the trial, victim one described that Paniagua Rojas began engaging in sexual intercourse with her when she was just 8 years old. Victim two described that by 6 years old Paniagua Rojas began engaging with her in acts of sexual intercourse and oral copulation.
At the sentencing hearing, victim one made a powerful statement to the court detailing her memories of the abuse and her emotional and mental struggles since that time. “I think being molested as a child has been one of the most confusing experiences of my life. To have to learn sex without any concepts of it, affects you in more ways than you can think of.” Victim one closed her statement with forgiveness for Paniagua-Rojas, and hope of moving beyond the horrendous acts committed against her. Her mother spoke of the courage it took for the victims to come forward, and noted, “today is a day of justice for my girls.”
Paniagua-Rojas faces a life sentence. However, recent California legislation allows prison inmates, including those sentenced to life terms, to be considered for parole after serving only 20 years of their sentence. Penal Code section 3055 originally went into effect in 2018, and with few exceptions allowed for inmates who reached 60 years of age and served 25 years of their sentence to be considered for release back into the community on parole. This “elderly parole” provision was amended in 2020 to now allow inmates who have reached the age of 50 and served only 20 years of their sentence to be considered for parole. Paniagua- Rojas will be eligible for parole in 2039 at the age of 69 years old, despite being ordered to serve a minimum of 210 years.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Leslie Butori, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Dave Linscomb and District Attorney Advocate Elizabeth Garcia. Detective Tim Raymond of the Santa Rosa Police Department headed the investigation.