Mountain View Voice

News - September 6, 2013

Gang members sentenced for sexually assaulting 13-year-old girl

by Nick Veronin

The three men accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old Mountain View girl in Castro Park last fall have accepted a plea deal that will send two of them to prison for eight years and another for five, according to the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case.

Mario Pinto, his brother Jose Pinto — both from Sunnyvale — and Carlos Sarcino of Mountain View were sentenced on Aug. 29 for their role in the attack, which occurred on Nov. 28, 2012. They were charged with performing a "lewd or lascivious action on a child by force."

According to the police report and Santa Clara County Deputy DA Clarissa Hamilton, the three young men — two of whom were 17 at the time — were hanging out with the victim at Castro Park on the night of the attack. They apparently all knew each other.

They were all drinking, but the 13-year-old was so drunk that she was "completely unconscious" during a portion of the attack. At another point, according to statements made by the defendants, she was screaming for help.

"The acts that occurred are particularly heinous," Hamilton told the Voice last December.

As a part of their plea deal, the men — all of whom are members of the Surenos street gang — pleaded guilty to carrying out the sexual assault "for the benefit of a gang," Hamilton said.

"Gangs thrive on being the biggest, baddest people on the block," Hamilton said, explaining that anything gang members can do to reinforce that image can benefit the group by perpetuating fear of the gang. "That's the culture that gangs thrive on."

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