Inland Empire assault victim speaks out about abuse, worries he may not get jail time

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- An Inland Empire family is demanding justice for a girl they said was sexually assaulted when she was 13, but the jury deadlocked, and now they're worried the defendant will walk away with no jail time.

"What he did to me physically, emotionally and mentally deserves more than just a slap on the wrist," said the victim, identified as "Jasmine Doe," who is now 16 years old.

ABC7 is not revealing her identity. Standing outside the Riverside Hall of Justice, she read a prepared statement to reporters. It was the statement she was prepared to read in court for the defendant's sentencing, but the sentencing was postponed.

"You know exactly what you did to me," she said. "And it's you who will have to live with this on your conscience for the rest of your life. I spoke my truth, (the suspect) assaulted my body and my soul."

The incident happened on Dec. 20, 2013. An advocate for the family said while the victim's mother was downstairs resting, the victim was sexually assaulted by a longtime family friend, identified as Marc Alan LeBlanc, in an upstairs bedroom.

It was more than a year later that the victim came forward and told her parents about what happened, and how LeBlanc even threatened to kill her if she went to authorities.

LeBlanc was later arrested and charged with making lewd acts on a child under the age of 14. But the jury could not come to a unanimous decision on a verdict and a mistrial was declared.

"Some of the jurors expected a sexual assault case to be like NCIS or CSI, where there's a huge box of DNA and a video," said Jenn Carson, a children's advocate.

She disagrees with a decision made by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office to accept a plea to a lesser charge instead of going for a second trial.

"The DA should have retried this case," Carson said. "Or only accepted a plea bargain that included jail time."

LeBlanc pleaded guilty to one count of battery. A spokesperson for the district attorney's office said he faces a maximum of 180 days in jail. But the family is worried he'll be released without serving any further jail time at all.

"If he walks when this is final, there's going to be a lot more children out there who don't speak out," said the victim's mother, who didn't want to release her name. "It's disappointing. Don't encourage children to speak out if you're not going to fight for them."

Outside court, family members of LeBlanc did not speak with ABC7. But LeBlanc's attorney said his client did not commit sexual touching or contact.

"We agreed to take the plea in order to end the process," defense attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez said. "I have only one concern, and that is my client and his rights. The jury has spoken."

LeBlanc is scheduled for sentencing for his guilty plea to battery on June 20.
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