It’s a case courage and bravery from child molestation victims who came forward, years after the fact.
While there is a statute of limitations on most crimes when it comes to child rape and molestation the charges can still stick years, or in some cases, decades later.
“Nobody knew, nobody knew.”, said a young woman identified in Santa Maria Court as Jane Doe in a trial involving her Godfather Felix Nicolas Jr.
Jane Doe agreed to speak with Central Coast News after the sentencing of Nicolas to 206 years to life in prison for his conviction of raping and sexually abusing Jane Doe and her sister when they were between 8 and 10 years old and lived with Nicolas, their mother and Nicolas’ former wife in low-rent Santa Maria hotels between 1999 and 2003.
“I think from a victim’s perspective there is always going to be that fear that people won’t believe them”, says Santa Barbara County Chief Deputy District Attorney Mag Nicola.
Nicola says the law allows for child molestation charges to be filed up until the victim reaches the age of 28, but can sometimes go even later in life depending on the circumstances
Nicola says the hard part is getting a victim or victims to come forward despite extensive county resources to protect, counsel and comfort victims before during and after the process.
“That shouldn’t be discouraging to them”, Nicola says, “they need to get their story out and they need to tell somebody that we can look into it, like I said we have that whole support network built in for people of these kinds of offenses and then like any other case, it comes down to the proof provided in the courtroom and juries deciding.”
“Don’t be afraid period, doesn’t matter who it is”, Jane Does tells Central Coast News after the sentencing of Felix Nicolas.
Doe, now in her early 20’s, is encouraging other victims of child molestation and sexual abuse to come forward and tell somone, anyone.
“You don’t have to hold in that ugly secret anymore”, Jane Doe tells Central Coast News, “just come forward and do the right thing and put them behind bars.”
Felix Nicolas says he has been wrongfully accused claiming he was living out of state or was serving time behind bars at the time his young accusers claim he molested them.
Nicolas received the maximum sentence of 206 years to life in prison after guilty verdicts for 16 felony counts of child rape and sex abuse.
Nicolas was also convicted of murder for hire after trying to get a fellow county jail inmate to kill both of his young accusers.
Nicolas plans to appeal his conviction and sentence.