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Man who molested girl in Hernando County goes to prison for life

BROOKSVILLE — Frank Torres knew he would spend the rest of his life in prison even before the judge handed down the sentence.

Torres, 53, was convicted of capital sexual battery last November. A jury found that he had molested a young girl over nearly three years in Hernando County. Four of the nine counts against him required mandatory life sentences.

But the words of his brother at the sentencing hearing Thursday, not the reading of the sentence, caused Torres' shoulders to heave with sobs.

Robert Newmiller told the court that he knew firsthand the damage that Torres had caused because Newmiller himself had been molested as a young teenager — in church, by a senior pastor.

Newmiller, who traveled from Pennsylvania for the sentencing and read from a prepared statement, used the plural "victims" because another young woman testified during the trial that Torres had molested her. Torres was never charged in that case.

"Intimacy will always be shrouded in the feeling of deep, dark evil, for the very roots of their sexual understanding have now been poisoned by the actions of the defendant," Newmiller said.

Torres committed the most recent crimes against the young girl over some six years, and the crimes occurred on occasions when the victim visited a relative, Assistant State Attorney Lisa Herndon said. The molestation started in Pasco County when the girl was 8 years old, Herndon said.

Torres' charges stem from molestation incidents that occurred in Hernando when the girl was between 10 and 12 years old. Torres continued to molest the girl after that, Herndon said.

He admitted to engaging in sex acts short of intercourse with the girl, but the nature of his acts still constituted capital sexual battery, Herndon said.

The victim was 14 when she took the stand last year to testify in Torres' trial.

"Although society cannot offer you forgiveness and has been left with no alternative but to restrain you, grow wise in your restraints," Newmiller told his brother. "Your life does not end here. Your opportunity to repent with a heartfelt sorrow is before you. Redemption awaits you."

Torres has a 16-year-old daughter who is now living with Newmiller and his wife in Pennsylvania. The teen was baptized last summer, Newmiller said.

"As I prayed for your daughter at the hour of her baptism, I will pray the same prayer for you," Newmiller said. "That the circumstances of this world will grow strangely dim as your eyes become increasingly focused on Christ."

Circuit Judge Victor Musleh then gave Torres the four mandatory life sentences and a total of 125 years for the other counts.

Newmiller watched from a few feet away as a bailiff fingerprinted his brother. Torres, his eyes red from crying, looked up at his brother and nodded once. Then the bailiff led him away.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or tmarrero@sptimes.com.

Man who molested girl in Hernando County goes to prison for life 01/13/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 13, 2011 7:23pm]

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