Is $5 Enough To Keep An 11-Year-Old OC Boy Silent After Sodomy?

One August night in 2008, Vidal Lopez Cortez asked his landlord's 11-year-old son if he wanted to watch cartoons together.

The boy fell asleep in Cortez's unit, awoke to the 24-year-old man beginning to sodomize him and vigorously protested.

But the tenant held the boy down, kissed him and continued to sexually assault him.

According to court records, Cortez also tried unsuccessfully to get the 5th grader to perform oral copulation.

At the conclusion, Cortez gave the boy $5 and told him not to tell his mother.

But his mother later found him "shaking and rocking back and forth," according to court records.

He'd suffered injuries to his anus.

Orange County prosecutors filed multiple charges against Cortez, including lewd act on a child, aggravated sexual assault of a child, attempted oral copulation with a child and sodomy by force.

A jury convicted him and Superior Court Judge W. Michael Hayes sentenced him to a prison term of 21 years to life.

Cortez appealed, claiming that he hadn't used any force and that his punishment is too severe. 

But this week a three-justice panel at the California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana rejected his claims. They agreed with Judge Hayes' view that stiff punishment was warranted because Cortez increased the sexual activity after the boy began screaming in pain.

Upshot: Cortez will be in his late 40s when he can ask a parole board to let him back into society.

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