Story Summary

Girls raped in Rancho Penasquitos park

  • Two teenage boys have been found guilty of raping two girls in a Rancho Penasquitos park last year.
  • William Steven Rodriguea and Leonel Contreras were found guilty by separate juries.
  • Both boys were sentenced to more than 50 years in prison
  • The judge called the crime “brutal, callous and ruthless” and said he would given much harsher sentences if the law had allowed it.
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SAN DIEGO — Two teenage boys who kidnapped and sexually assaulted two girls in a Rancho Penasquitos park were sentenced Monday to at least  five decades in prison.

Leonel Contreras and William Rodriguez Leonel Contreras, 18, was sentenced to 58-years-to life. His co-defendant William Steven Rodriguez, 17, got a 50-years-to-life sentence. Both were 16 at the time of the Sept. 3, 2011, attack. They were tried as adults and convicted by separate juries last year.

Rodriguez was found guilty of 10 of 21 charges, including forcible oral copulation and forcible sodomy. Contreras was convicted on 21 counts, including conspiracy, rape and kidnapping and the use of a knife.

“All those factors together distinguished this crime from many others,” said Wendy Patrick, Deputy District Attorney.

Patrick told Judge Peter Deddeh that the defendants kidnapped the 15- and 16-year-old victims as they walked along a greenbelt behind a residential neighborhood about 8 p.m.

“These were two young girls that went for a walk in the park and sat down intending to have a conversation,” said Patrick to the judge.

Patrick said the defendants took the girls — who were both virgins — to a secluded area and subjected them to multiple sex acts over 30 to 40 minutes.

“It was a prolonged, brutal sexual assault,” the prosecutor said. “Repeated offenses again and again.  Then they switched victims twice.”

Deddeh said it was “awful and shocking” how long the assault lasted.

“You robbed them (the victims) of their spirit,” the judge told Rodriguez.

Deddeh chastised Contreras — who he called the “shot caller” — as being in denial and not owning up to what he did.

“It was brutal, callous and ruthless,” Deddeh said of the attack. “If I could sentence you to 645 years I would, but the law says I can’t do that.  Since you were a minor you were spared that sentence.”

“Justice was served today,” said Patrick.  “Hopefully this will bring some closure to what has been a very difficult year for both the girls and their families,”

In court, Patrick also read a letter from the family of Jane Doe 2, detailing the victim’s struggles since the attack.

The defendants stole “something they had no right to take,” the parents said in the letter.

Jane Doe 2 had constant nightmares but “has chosen not to live as a victim” and to “work toward healing,” the letter read.

To the mothers of the defendants, the victim’s parents said, “Our hearts break for you.”

contrerasRodriguezSAN DIEGO — Two teenagers who kidnapped and repeatedly raped two girls in a Rancho Penasquitos park were sentenced to decades in prison Thursday.

Leonel Contreras,18,  and William Steven Rodriguez, 17, were convicted last year by separate juries.

Rodriguez was found guilty of 10 of 21 charges, including forcible oral copulation and forcible sodomy, in connection with the Sept. 3, 2011, attack. Contreras,  was convicted on 21 counts, including conspiracy, rape and kidnapping.

Wednesday, Judge Peter Deddeh sentenced Rodriguez to 50 years to life in prison and Contreras to 58 years to life.

The judge said the crime was “brutal, callous and ruthless” and said he would have handed down much harsher sentences if the law had allowed it. He said Contreras called the shots in the assault and he did not believe the teen could be rehabilitated.

“I would have sentenced you to 640 years to life if I could, but since you are a minor, you have been spared,” Deddeh told Contreras. “Because of your attitude and behavior, you deserved that sentence.”

Before sentencing, the prosecutor read a letter to the court from the parents of one of the victims. The parents their daughter’s life was dramatically altered by the assault.

“You have robbed these victims of their spirit,” Deddeh told Rodriquez. “They will have scars that will last forever.”

In her closing argument, Patrick said the defendants had a plan to assault the girls and Contreras told Rodriguez that he had a knife.

But Rodriguez’s attorney, Dana Feuling, said there was no conspiracy between the defendants and that her client acted on “impulse.” She said Rodriguez cooperated after his arrest and admitted what he did.

Contreras’ attorney, Michael Begovich, told the jury that police coerced a false confession from his client and prosecutors lacked evidence tying the defendant to the crime.

Patrick told jurors that the victims, then 15 and 16 years old, were friends who went to a family party in the 12600 block of Spindletop Road.

The prosecutor said Rodriguez and Contreras were out smoking marijuana when they spotted the two girls as they took a nighttime walk along a greenbelt running behind a residential neighborhood.

The boys accosted them, with Contreras holding a knife, and forced them to a more secluded area, using threats to make them stay quiet, she said.

According to the prosecutor, the defendants subjected them to “a brutal 30- to 40-minute series of sexual assaults that included every imaginable kind of rape.”

Patrick said graffiti found in the open space resulted in a tip that led investigators to Rodriguez, who told police what happened. Police then tracked down Contreras.

SAN DIEGO — A 17-year-old boy was convicted Monday of kidnapping and committing multiple sex acts, including rape, against two girls in a dark Rancho Penasquitos park last year.

William Steven Rodriguez was found guilty of 10 of 21 charges, including forcible oral copulation and forcible sodomy, in connection with the Sept. 3, 2011, attack.

Jurors acquitted the teen of rape by a foreign object on Jane Doe 1, and were unable to reach unanimous verdicts on 10 other counts.

Eight of the counts on which he was convicted carry a sentence of 25 years to life, said Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick.

The jury’s verdicts, reached about 10 days ago, remained sealed until a separate jury reached verdicts in the case against co-defendant Leonel Contreras, also 17. Both defendants were prosecuted as adults.

Contreras was convicted Friday on 21 counts, including conspiracy, rape and kidnapping.

Contreras faces sentencing Dec. 5. Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 15.

Patrick would not say whether her office would retry the unresolved counts against Rodriguez.

“It is the end of a very stressful year for the victims and their families,” the prosecutor said outside court. “It’s been a long time waiting for this result.”

Patrick said the victims courageously testified about what happened to them.

“These were two young girls that were united by family, faith and ambition who took a walk on a sunny, weekend day to a green park with a white picket fence with a green lawn — known as a greenbelt — and never thought that to simply take a walk and look for a place to sit and have some conversation would end up turning into a 30- to 45-minute brutal rape/sexual assault series,” Patrick told reporters.

Friend Sarah Moesta said the families of both victims were relieved that justice was done.

She said the victims are healing.

“They’re doing good. They’re doing really well,” she said.

In her closing argument, Patrick said the defendants had a plan to assault the girls and Contreras told Rodriguez that he had a knife.

But Rodriguez’s attorney, Dana Feuling, said there was no conspiracy between the defendants and that her client acted on “impulse.”

She said Rodriguez cooperated after his arrest and admitted what he did.

“(Expletive) happens,” Rodriguez told police. “The body is weak when it sees flesh.”

Feuling said Rodriguez was not guilty of sodomy, rape by a foreign object or conspiracy.

“He shouldn’t be charged with more than he’s actually responsible for,” the defense attorney said.

Patrick told jurors that the victims, then 15 and 16 years old, were friends who went to a family party in the 12600 block of Spindletop Road.

“The two defendants took their innocence from them,” the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor said Rodriguez and Contreras were out smoking marijuana when they spotted the two girls as they took a nighttime walk along a greenbelt running behind a residential neighborhood.

The boys accosted them, with Contreras holding a knife, and forced them to a more secluded area, using threats to make them stay quiet, she said.

According to the prosecutor, the defendants subjected them to “a brutal 30- to 40-minute series of sexual assaults that included every imaginable kind of rape.”

By Kelly Wheeler, City News Service

Friday a jury found Leonel Contreras, 17, guilty on all 21-counts against him, including kidnapping, forcible rape and sodomy by use of force.

Contreras was convicted in the brutal attack against two girls at knife-point last year in Rancho Penasquitos Park. The victims were then 15 and 16 years old.

Wendy Patrick, Deputy District Attorney, said the verdict is a huge relief for the victims and their families.

“They were happy to finally have some closure on what’s been a very difficult year for the girls and for their families,” said Patrick. “With the courage of both victims and the support of their families and the incredible work of the San Diego County Police Department we were able to achieve the justice that we were seeking.”

Contreras allegedly committed the crimes alongside William Rodriguez, 17. Rodriguez also stood trial on 21 counts in October. A separate jury reached a verdict in that case, but it was being withheld until the Contreras trial wrapped up. The Rodriquez verdict will be read Monday morning.

Contreras could be sentenced to hundreds of years in prison for the crimes. His sentencing is scheduled for December 5. Rodriquez could face the same punishment if convicted.

Both teens were tried as adults.

“Cases like this are emotional for everyone involved,” said Patrick. “Emotional for the victims, the families, often for jurors that have to undertake the difficult task of deliberating on so many counts and so many serious counts. This was a case that was difficult for everyone and the victims and their families are very pleased and very relieved to have this come to an end.”

Leonel Contreras is found guilty of brutaly kidnapping and rapping two girls in a Rancho Penasquitos park last year.

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