TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been two months since a jury found 47-year-old Richard Ramirez guilty of beating his ex-wife and abusing and stalking his ex-girlfriend.
During Ramirez's sentencing hearing on Tuesday, prosecutors recounted one incident where he held a gun to his ex-girlfriend's head and threatened to kill himself.
But while reading her victim impact statement, the woman told Ramirez she forgave him, saying she hoped he would become a better man.
"I think that that takes a lot of courage to do so to stand up in front of an open courtroom, in front of the community, in front of her abuser, and make the statements that she did," Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said.
Ward says Ramirez's sentence of five years and eight months in prison sends a message to all victims of domestic violence.
"There is hope, there is help," Ward said. "No one is above the law, no one is below the law."
On Tuesday, the judge said Ramirez exploited his position of trust and authority as a law enforcement officer to hold control over his relationships with the victims and prevent his bad behavior from coming to light.
Ramirez's attorney described his client as an exemplary officer, who received numerous awards during his more than 20-year career with the Tulare County Sheriff's Office.
"Because of the fact that law enforcement is being perceived by society as a negative as opposed to a positive, I think that that all went against him today," Victor Perez said. "And I think that's what ultimately caused him to sustain a conviction that sent him to prison."
Perez says his client will eventually land on his feet and do good things for the community.
But besides his prison sentence, Ramirez is being sued civilly by his ex-girlfriend.
The Tulare County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Mike Boudreaux are also named defendants in that case.
She says they ignored her reports of abuse.
The sheriff's office says any claims they covered up or protected Ramirez are categorically false.
Ten-year protective orders were issued by the judge, meaning Ramirez cannot have contact with any of the victims for that length of time.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse, or you know someone who is, there is help available 24/7. In Fresno County, call the Marjaree Mason Center at (559) 233-4357. In all other locations, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.
Former Tulare Sheriff's Sergeant sentenced to 5+ years in prison for domestic violence