BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — During a nearly 12-year period, Armando Villanueva molested eight girls at the daycare he and his wife ran from their McFarland home.
He committed hundreds of acts of molestation against girls 3 to 12 years old, leaving the victims and their families with emotional scars they said will torment them for the rest of their lives.
For some, there can be no forgiveness.
“You stole my innocence,” one victim wrote in a statement read to the court Friday morning. “I do not think forgiving you will make me whole again.”
After hearing the victims’ pleas to keep Villanueva behind bars for the rest of his life, Judge Michael E. Dellostritto sentenced him to 190 years to life in prison.
A jury convicted the 57-year-old of multiple sex crimes in December.
Villanueva sat quietly beside defense counsel as the sentence was imposed.
His victims, however, made their voices heard.
One woman who was abused by Villanueva told the court that, despite what happened to her, she is becoming a strong woman.
Still, what Villanueva did continues to haunt her. She has difficulty making friends and forming relationships, especially with men.
For years, she suffered from a condition that led her to pull out her hair and eyebrows, leaving fist-sized bald spots on her head. The anxiety and depression she felt stemmed from the abuse she suffered at the hands of Villanueva, she told the court.
KGET 17 does not identify victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly.
Another woman who sent her two daughters to the day care said at first it seemed like the perfect place to send her children. She trusted they would be safe.
Years later, blindsided by the news of what Villanueva had done, the change in her daughters’ behavior began to make sense, the woman told the court.
She said her two girls had become quiet, and always locked themselves in their room. What Villanueva did to them altered their personalities.
“You robbed my girls’ innocence and you scarred me for life,” the woman told Villanueva before sentencing.
Villanueva’s attorney, J.W. Harrott, asked the judge impose a lesser sentence as 190 years to life was excessive. He said the court should take into consideration that his client was found guilty of touching alone, no other sex acts.
And, Harrott said, Villanueva has diabetes and Parkinson’s disease and is in frail condition. He no longer poses a threat, the attorney said.
In response, prosecutor Esther Schlaerth argued that Villanueva preyed upon vulnerable children between 2004 and 2015, committing hundreds of acts of molestation. She said he deserved the maximum sentence under the law.
“He disrespected their suffering,” Schlaerth said. “He disrespected their humanity, in fact.”
No filming of Friday’s proceedings was allowed. The judge said he took into consideration both the victims’ privacy and the safety of Villanueva.
Earlier, Harrott told the court Villanueva has twice been attacked while in custody at Lerdo Jail.