A man convicted of sexually assaulting a young relative for seven years was sentenced to 106 years to life in a state prison Friday, according to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office.
Mario Hernandez, 59, of Upland, was the boy's legal guardian at the time when authorities said he raped the child.
He began assaulting the boy after he came to live at Hernandez's home at the age of 3, the district attorney said.
Hernandez would often withhold food from the boy until he allowed Hernandez to perform sex acts, Deputy District Attorney Karen Schmauss said.
"He would also refuse to sign the boy's school planner if he did not cooperate," Schmauss said in a news release. "As the victim grew older, Hernandez threatened harm to the boy and his brother if they told anyone."
It wasn't until the boy turned 10 that he confided in school friends.
Hernandez's wife was also legal guardian of the boy.
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The man was given the maximum sentence for three counts of sodomy with a child 10 or younger, one count of oral copulation with a child aged 10 or younger, and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child.
"This defendant will never again hurt a child," Schmauss said in a news release. "The victim has been returned to the custody of his father and stepmother and is doing well."
A comfort dog was allowed to help the boy and his brother through their testimonies, the first time a comfort dog was used in trial in San Bernardino County.