A Colorado pastor who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old family member has been sentenced to life in prison.
In September, Hugo Ornelas was found guilty of assulting the girl on his living room couch twice in July 2012. He was not arrested until December last year.
Ornelas, 49, is also facing charges that allege he violated an order that mandated he stay away from anyone younger than 18.
In June, authorities witnessed him interacting with children at his church, Iglesia Del Dios.
Eighth Judicial Court Judge Stephen Howard told the courthouse, which included Orenlas' wife, daughter, brother-in-law and nephew, all who testifyied on his behalf, that although he personally believed that the pastor had done "a large number of great things" and "has served the people in his congregation and the people in his life," this did not sway his decision.
"I also heard the evidence, believe what the victim said, and certainly the jury was convinced of it beyond a reasonable doubt," Howard said, as reported by The Coloradoan.
The victim, who attended Ornelas' church, wrote a letter to the pastor that was read aloud in the courtroom by the prosecution.
Ornelas will be eligible for parole after serving 12 years.