A man originally from Mexico faces a 10-year “mandatory minimum sentence” after being found guilty Thursday of raping a child and related charges, according to a court official.
The jury, made up of seven men and five women, rendered its guilty verdict in under an hour on all six charges against 30-year-old Carlos Sebastian. Sebastian has no fixed address and was previously deported, according to court documents.
Sebastian was found guilty of raping a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years old, statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, and corruption of minors, stemming from encounters beginning in December 2014. All are first-degree felonies, except for corruption of minors, which is a third-degree felony.
First-degree felonies come with a maximum of 20 years of confinement, while a third-degree felony has up to seven years of jail time.
As the foreperson read the verdict, Sebastian shook his head and turned to his girlfriend, who seated directly behind him became emotional.
After the jurors were dismissed, Sebastian spoke up in Spanish.
“I’m going to appeal the case,” a certified, Spanish-speaking interpreter translated from Sebastian. “I’m not going to sign anything.”
The juvenile victim testified at the one-day trial that sexual encounters occurred more than 30 times with Sebastian. She alleged some of those instances occurred while a relative was sleeping in the same room, according to her testimony.
In exchange for some of those sexual encounters, the victim said Sebastian paid her between $5 and $20, or he would allow her to go over to a friend’s house, according to her testimony.
Sebastian also took the stand on Thursday with the assistance of the interpreter.
Adams County Chief Public Defender Kristin Rice, representing Sebastian, asked her client if he ever paid the female juvenile “for sexual activity.”
“Never,” Sebastian said through the interpreter.
In her closing argument, Rice pointed out how it made “no sense” for Sebastian to have intercourse with the victim with a relative in the same room.
The relative “could wake up and see” what was happening, according to Rice.
Rice also said throughout the course of the trial there was no physical evidence offered and no witness testimony other than the victim’s.
Adams County Assistant District Attorney Kelley Margetas shared with the jury an adage about children and lying.
“Children don’t like to get into trouble,” Margetas said. “They lie to get out of trouble.”
If the victim was going to make up a story, why would she say a relative was in the same room when it happened, Margetas said.
Margetas said Sebastian will also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
“The Adams County District Attorney’s office is committed to remaining vigilant in protecting children in our community from child abusers,” Margetas said after the trial. “We would like to thank the jury for its conscientious deliberation in this case.”
Sentencing was deferred for three months, to allow the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board to review Sebastian’s case to determine whether he meets the criteria to be classified as a sexually violent predator, which has extra reporting requirements.
Adams County Court of Common Pleas Judge Shawn Wagner, who presided at trial, set sentencing for Aug. 22 at 8:30 a.m.
Sebastian remains in Adams County Prison in lieu of $200,000 cash bail and has a pending Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer, according to court officials.
“This was a very difficult case, as are all cases wherein sex with a child is alleged,” Rice said after proceedings. “Mr. Sebastian maintains his innocence, so I anticipate that he will appeal following sentencing.”