Robert Howard Claudio Gets 15 Years to Life for Luring Boy into Restoom and Sodomizing Him

Categories: Court, Crime-iny

robert-howard-claudio_ocdaFULL.jpg
Courtesy of Orange County District Attorney's office
"May God forgive you because we will never forgive you," the boy's mother told Robert Howard Claudio.

An Anaheim Hills man who lured a boy into a Tustin library restroom, had sex with the 13-year-old and then claimed it was all the kid's idea was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

Robert Howard Claudio Faces 15 to Life After Conviction of Sex Assault on Boy at Library

The boy was waiting for his mother to pick him up from the Teen Room in a county public library at 345 E. Main St., Tustin, the afternoon of March 9, 2012, when Claudio approached and explained he was studying to be a social worker and was used to talking to younger boys. Claudio then lured the boy into a library men's room, where the adult sodomized the child, Deputy District Attorney Jana Hoffmann told jurors.

The boy managed to escape and run to the Tustin Police Department around the corner, where he immediately reported the assault. Simultaneously, Claudio stopped a passing cop and said the boy had solicited him for sex. It didn't work: Claudio was arrested immediately.

As my colleague R. Scott Moxley previously reported, Claudio was a registered sex offender, but he was not listed in the state's Megan's Law database because his prior conviction came before he was an adult. The database does not include crimes committed by juveniles.

Defense attorney Fred McBride contested the kidnapping allegation because it elevated the potential punishment to a life sentence. But the jury on Sept. 5, 2013, found Claudio guilty of one felony count of kidnapping for child molesting, four felony counts of lewd acts with a minor under 14, and sentencing enhancement allegations for substantial sexual conduct with a child and increasing the risk of harm by kidnapping.

In a letter that was read in Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick H. Donahue's courtroom Friday, the boy's more said, "My child has gone from being a normal, happy, and smart kid to being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, severe depression and (is) failing in school. He has been hospitalized because he has physically hurt himself trying to erase the pain he has gone through."

The boy may need therapy and medications for the rest of his life, his physican says, according to the mother.

"There isn't a day that goes by where we are not reminded of that horrible day. I ask that this individual never gets out so that he will not hurt any other innocent child or person again because no one should ever have to go through all my child and my family has gone through."

She also had a message for Claudio: "I hope that one day you feel the same way you have made us feel, and may God forgive you because we will never forgive you."

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!



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