FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - In Northern Virginia, the mother of a sexual abuse victim tells Fox News her underage daughter was robbed of justice. She says she was promised by the prosecutor handling the case that the abuser would face a harsher sentence. However, he is now receiving a shorter amount of time behind bars than expected.
Stand Up Virginia – a conservative group – is rallying Friday outside the Fairfax Historic Courthouse calling for Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano to step down. They’re upset with how his office handled this latest sexual abuse case and believe it’s an example of a soft on crime mentality.
"They're worried about public safety, they're worried about justice, and they're worried about the legal system looking out for them, the innocent people in these cases," said Steve Knotts, Fairfax GOP Chairman.
The victim is now a teenager, but back in 2019, she told her parents she and another young girl had been sexually abused for years. They called police and 53-year-old Oscar Zaldivar was arrested. The suspect plead guilty a few months ago and this week he was sentenced to 17 years in prison.
The mom says this is a much shorter sentence than prosecutors promised her they would be pushing for. She spoke with Fox News correspondent Mark Meredith through a translator. The mother feels like her daughter’s sexual abuser only got a slap on the wrist in this case.
"They shouldn’t have done what the criminal wanted," she said, but did not reveal herself due to privacy concerns. "I asked for an explanation and the prosecutor told me that there was no reason. He simply told me ‘I don’t want to lose my job.’"
Fox News pulled the transcript from what was said in the courtroom Monday. It reveals the judge himself was outraged by the decision and told the victim: "You’re victimized not only by this man, but by your own government… I’m offended for you."
The Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office is responding with:
"This 17-year sentence constitutes the high end of the sentencing guidelines. Respectfully, we find it inappropriate for the judge to be making political statements from the bench."
Recall activists are working to collect signatures for a petition to remove the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney removed from office.