40-year-old Rosemary Eusted was sentenced to 72 years + 120 years to life for the ongoing molestation of at least four children over a period of several years. Two were girls that spent time in her home and were 6 and 7 years old when the molestation occurred in 1997. Then, in 2005, Eusted molested two additional victims (5-10 years old) in Placer County. It is only in recent years that Eusted’s victims have felt comfortable enough to come forth, fearing her violent nature and threats. In the case before the Sacramento Superior Court, all victims testified and Eusted was convicted of 17 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with force against a child under 14 years of age.
California law (CA Penal Code §288) dictates that, when sexual acts are performed with a child, this is a particularly heinous offense. To begin with, the simple fact that the child is under 14 years of age comes with an 8-year term in state prison. Additionally, however, if any type of force or violence was used, then the sentence can go up to 10 years in state prison. In Eusted’s case, force was used and there was a pattern of continual abuse spanning over a period of 3 months, which affects sentencing even further – a person can receive up to 16 years for each count of molestation.
While child molestation is a very serious crime and should not be taken lightly, there are many persons who are falsely accused of this particular offense each year. Although Eusted is most likely guilty of these terrible acts, we must also remember that the National Innocence Project has assisted in the exoneration of thousands of such persons through the use of DNA evidence.