Michael Risenhoover given maximum sentence for sex crimes

April 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The former South Valley corrections deputy convicted of child molestation gets to 88 years to life in prison.

Michael Risenhoover worked as a Tulare County Corrections Deputy at the time he molested a child. Friday, a judge gave him the maximum sentence for his criminal actions.

There was additional security on hand for Michael Risenhoover's scheduled sentencing. The former Tulare County Deputy was convicted of child molestation last year. But things turned violent in his last court appearance. When the jury read its guilty verdict, officials say Risenhoover attacked the investigating detective in the case before being tazed.

This time around, Risenhoover was shaking -- at times his right leg violently trembling.

Risenhoover's attorney asked the judge to delay the sentencing over fears his client may have been drugged while in jail. The judge saw no real evidence to suggest that was the case. But before the punishment was handed down, the prosecutor read a letter from the victim. "This crime has affected me in so many ways. The biggest way is I am more afraid of just walking down the street. I'm afraid of males I see at stores. I think they're going to hurt me," said Melissa Chabra, persecutory.

Risenhoover was arrested last July after a Pixley Unified student accused him of molesting her over the course of three years. Risenhoover was a nine year veteran of the departments detention division. He resigned his post shortly after the arrest.

"People in law enforcement are people we trust with our children, and for someone to commit a crime like this against a child from that position of trust really is the worst kind offense," said Anthony Fultz, Deputy District Attorney.

The judge imposed the maximum sentence of 88 years to life in prison.

"I listened to what happened to this little girl, and under these circumstances , it's almost unbelievable," said Judge H.N. Papadakis, Tulare County Superior Court.

The defendant quickly replied by denying the allegations, "I didn't."

Prosecutors say they're glad the case is closed and hope the little girl can start the process of healing.


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