(Riverside, CA) A man who brought a 13-year-old San Bernardino County girl to Las Vegas, Nevada, to have sex has been sentenced to 84 months in federal prison.
Ivan Lopez, 23, who at the time of his arrest resided in Lennox in Los Angeles County, received the sentence late Monday from United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips. Once Lopez completes his prison sentence, he will be on supervised release for the rest of his life, and he will be required to register as a sex offender.
Lopez pleaded guilty in June to traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. When he pleaded guilty, Lopez admitted that he traveled to Nevada with a 13-year-old girl with whom he had developed an online relationship over the course of six months.
Lopez was arrested in October 2010 by FBI agents after his van was located by the U.S. Marshals Service outside a motel in Las Vegas. Lopez drove to the motel with the victim after he secretly arranged to pick her up from her home once her parents had gone to bed. When the victim was discovered missing, the girl’s parents contacted the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which identified Lopez as a suspect and issued an Amber Alert for the vehicle Lopez had been driving.
During his online communications with the victim, Lopez asked her to be his “girlfriend,” despite being reminded by the victim of her young age. Lopez communicated regularly with the victim online using social networking sites, such as MySpace and Twinkle, and via text messaging and telephone calls. During the communications, Lopez told the victim of his plans to run away and have sex with her.
Prosecutors stated that Lopez used his experience in sexual matters, his influence as a grown man, and his resources to unduly influence an impressionable eighth grader. The papers argued that Lopez seemed to “wear down the victim’s defenses,” by asking her several times to send nude photos of herself, which she did after initially declining his sexual advances.
Lopez told the victim he was suicidal prior to meeting her and that he considered her to be his wife, going as far as purchasing a ring for the victim. The sentencing papers also state that Lopez faces an outstanding unrelated charge in San Bernardino County for engaging in sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl.
At Monday’s sentencing hearing, the victim’s mother and sister addressed the court and detailed the harmful impact Lopez had on their family and on the victim.
(cover image: Las Vegas Strip)
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