Child-rape victim gets light penalty on Los Angeles burglaries

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A California woman who as a child was raped repeatedly by her father, and later gave birth to three of his children, was given a light sentence on burglary conviction because of her horrific childhood, officials said.

The 33-year-old woman faced more than 12 years in prison for helping gang members burglarize homes in Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

But she is expected to leave jail within days after a Los Angeles County judge sentenced her Friday to two years and eight months in custody. The woman was given credit for time she spent behind bars awaiting trial and sentencing, clearing the way for her release.

The case posed a challenge for prosecutors and judges, who had to decide an appropriate sentence for someone who had committed serious crimes but who also endured a nightmarish childhood.

"Because of her background, I believe it's time to see if she can rehabilitate herself," Deputy District Attorney Richard Gallegly, who prosecuted the case, told the newspaper. "If anyone deserves it, it's her."

The woman's attorney, Ron Seabold, said Superior Court Judge Dalila Corral Lyons expressed hope during the hearing that the woman would take advantage of the lenient punishment by obtaining counseling.

The woman told the judge she had learned her lesson and wants to make sure she does not lose permanent custody of her five children, the attorney told the Times. The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of sexual abuse.

"She needs help and direction. She's not a bad person," Seabold said.

The sentencing came more than four years after the woman's father was sentenced to 109 years to life in prison for raping and brutalizing her.

She will enter a residential program next week for mental health and substance-abuse counseling, her attorney said. A court could take away her parental rights if she fails to go through with the counseling.

A jury last year convicted the woman and three men of residential burglary and attempted burglary. The men were sentenced to prison terms of at least 12 years for the 2010 crimes.

The woman faced a likely prison sentence because she was on probation for drunken driving when the burglaries were committed.

After her father's arrest in 2005, she told authorities that he started sexually assaulting her when she was 6 years old.

At 17, she gave birth to a child by her father. By 24, she had had two more of his children.

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