Office of Commonwealth's Attorney, Culpeper County
A Culpeper man will be spending the rest of his life in the state penitentiary for child molestation following a sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
Elios Arellano-Aquino, 29, was sentenced on June 5 in the Culpeper County Circuit Court, having pled guilty to charges of Forcible Sodomy, Aggravated Sexual Battery, and Object Sexual Penetration on March 19, 2013.
Arellano-Aquino was charged after the mother of the juvenile victim found out that he had been molesting her child for a number of years. The molestation began when the victim was only nine years old.
Arellano-Aquino began molesting the child by touching her chest and buttocks over her clothing. The molestation continued until about three weeks before the victim's mother discovered the crimes.
The case was originally prosecuted by Culpeper County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Smith, beginning with a preliminary hearing in the Culpeper Juvenile and Domestic Relations District. The case was certified by the JDR Court to the August 2012 term of the Grand Jury.
After the Culpeper Commonwealth's Attorney's Office expended countless hours working on the case, the case was subsequently reassigned to a special prosecutor, Fluvanna County Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip. The case was turned over to Haislip after documents protected by the attorney-client privilege were inadvertently sent to the Culpeper Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.
Circuit Court Judge Susan L. Whitlock sentenced Arellano-Aquino to serve a life sentence on the Forcible Sodomy charge, 20 years with 15 years suspended on the Aggravated Sexual Battery charge, and a life sentence with all but 20 years suspended on the Object Sexual Penetration charge. Defense attorney Kirk T. Milam had asked for a five year sentence, arguing in part that in his client's culture it was acceptable for an adult to have sexual relations with children. Non-mandatory sentencing guidelines called for a low-end range of punishment of seven years and seven months active incarceration.
In asking for a life sentence, Haislip argued that the victim has been scarred for life. Haislip stated that the victim has been robbed of normalcy for all of her important and meaningful milestones such as dating, prom, wedding, and having children. Following the hearing, Haislip stated, "It is good to know Arellano-Aquino will not be able to do this to anyone again and that he is off the streets."
Culpeper Commonwealth's Attorney Megan R. Frederick expressed gratitude toward the Court and Haislip. "We are grateful for Mr. Haislip's assistance and for arguing for a life sentence. This is a true victory for those who have suffered child abuse. In Culpeper, if you molest one of our children, we will not hesitate to remove you from our community," stated Frederick.