A girl was held hostage in the same back yard shed she helped build, and lost years of her childhood. Raul Ochoa pleaded guilty of raping a female relative when she was just 12 and then keeping her as a sex slave for the next 14 years. The victim finally escaped in 2012 when she told Ochoa she was going to the bathroom. Ochoa pleaded guilty to one count forced lewd acts on a child and two counts forcible rape. He will serve 22 years as part of a plea bargain. 22 years for 14 years of a girl's childhood. Does that sound fair?
During the time Ochoa kept his captive, the girl had left the house sometimes, but she was always under Ochoa's control -- physical as well as psychological control. She worked for his landscaping business, but he home schooled her. Contra Costa district attorney Ryan Wagner says, "She felt she couldn't leave, and he would threaten that he would harm her or harm himself if she left."
It all started when the girl as around 12. Ochoa asked his wife if he could have sex with the child. His wife says she was shocked, and that he quickly said he was joking. But he raped the girl and continued the abuse for years. Police say Ochoa was violent with his wife and that she was too terrified of him to intervene. It was the girl's siblings who finally convinced her to escape.
It's Jaycee Dugard, all over again. At least this girl wasn't forced to bear Ochoa's children -- that we know of, anyway. What is with these men who think they can just claim a girl for their own like that? She lost her entire adolescence and her early 20s. Think of everything you experienced and learned during those years!
This girl, now a woman, may have had half of her childhood stolen from her. But I'm glad she's free now. Hopefully she can learn from other survivors like Jaycee Dugard how to recover from her ordeal.
Do you think there are more cases like this one happening all over?
Image via Contra Costa District Attorney