Immokalee man sentenced to 25 years for molesting, raping children

Julio Rafael Lopez

Julio Rafael Lopez

An Immokalee man was sentenced to 25 years in state prison Tuesday after admitting he raped and molested a teenage girl and molested two young boys.

Facing life in prison on the top two charges, Julio Rafael Lopez, now 27, opted to plead guilty just before Assistant State Attorney Steve Maresca and Assistant Public Defender Shawn Nagle presented their opening statements. They'd selected a jury that morning and the attorneys negotiated the plea deal while jurors were still at lunch.

Under the plea agreement, Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt then sentenced Lopez to 25 years each on the top charges, lewd and lascivious molestation, and 15 years each, the maximum, for two counts of lewd and lascivious battery, a second-degree felony. The sentences will be served concurrently, not on top of each other.

Lopez has been held in the county jail since his arrest on Sept. 11, 2008, after the 13-year-old girl told Collier Sheriff's investigators that he molested her and raped her more than five times. The boys, who were 8 and 10, said he molested them while they were in bed in another bedroom. Lopez was 24 at the time.

Once Lopez finishes his state prison sentence, he faces deportation to Guatemala.

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