Late last month, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office was pleased to announce that Felipe Hernandez, 68, was sentenced for numerous charges of sexual abuse against six foster children placed in his care. Hernandez, of Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to all counts and will serve 18 years and 8 months to life in prison for his crimes.
Mr. Hernandez’s crimes took place over the course of six years, from 2006 to 2012, with victims who ranged from 9 to 15 years of age. Just some of the charges included:
- One count of forcible lewd act on a child under 14
- Three counts of lewd acts upon a child under 15
- Four counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor
- One count of unlawful sexual intercourse
- One count of possession and control of child pornography
Hernandez’s wife, Maria Esther Hernandez, 61, pleaded guilty in 2013 as an accessory after the fact for these crimes. It is believed that, in 2012, she witnessed Mr. Hernandez committing one of these acts and then threatened the victim to stay silent. Mrs. Hernandez also encouraged family members to police about the incident. She was sentenced to three months in jail, three years of probation, and the payment of restitution.
Breaking the Silence of Abuse
The sentencing hearing was punctuated by emotional statements made by some of the victims. One stated that she would never forget how the defendant changed the course of her life, and another recounted a suicide attempt that stemmed from the abuse she had suffered under the care of the Hernandezes. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Whitney Bokosky.
Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez were investigated when a family member had found video footage of a crime and reported them to the police— a reminder that we all have the responsibility to recognize and report cases of sexual abuse and that loyalty in these cases must always fall with the victims.
If you or a loved has been the victim of sexual abuse, then we invite you to call us at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP. We are ready to review your legal options and, if necessary, have your voice heard in a court of law.