Man Sentenced for Raping 8-Year-Old Centreville Girl
Salvador Portillo-Saravia, 30, was sentenced in Fairfax County Circuit Court on Friday.
Salvador Portillo-Saravia used to call the young Centreville girl his niece. After all, he was a fixture in her life as she grew up, even if they weren't related to one another. He came over to her home to celebrate birthdays, joined in on family parties, and even occasionally spent the weekend.
But just after the family celebrated Christmas in 2010, Portillo-Saravia, apparently drunk at the time, raped the girl, who was only 8 years old.
On Friday, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Dennis J. Smith sentenced Portillo-Saravia to 15 years in prison for the sodomy charge, with 10 years suspended. For the rape charge, Smith sentenced Portillo-Saravia to 35 years in prison with 15 years suspended.
"If I could make you give her back her childhood, I would," Smith said. "But you can't do that."
The sentence effectively means that Portillo-Saravia, who pleaded guilty to both offenses, will serve 25 years in prison. If he commits another crime within the next 50 years, he will return to prison and serve another 25.
Portillo-Saravia, 29 years old and a Sterling resident at the time of the crime, fled to Texas after he assaulted the girl. It was over a month before the authorities were able to track him down.
Portillo-Saravia's case made further waves after it came to light that he should never have been in the country in the first place. Authorities had deported him back to his native El Salvador in 2003. Only one month before the attack on the young girl, though, he was arrested for public drunkenness. A search through a federal database of deportees should have turned up his name, but did not, The Washington Post reported. With some prompting from Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th district), Congress recently allocated more money to help update the database.
But in Judge Smith's courtroom on Friday, it was clear that the damage to a young girl's life was not so easily fixed. The mother of the victim, in tears through her statement, told the court that the assault has continued to cause major problems.
"My daughter is devastated," she said, then paused for a long stretch, trying to compose herself. "Her behavior is completely changed."
The cost of counseling has been a strain on the family's resources. She doesn't feel safe anymore even leaving her with other children. The worst part is the way that her daughter has changed, she said.
"I just want to say, this is a nightmare," the mother concluded.
The defense acknowledged the seriousness of the crime, but said Portillo-Saravia was not a "career criminal." He was recruited into the MS-13 gang at age 11 in El Salvador, the defense said, but left at personal risk to himself. When he was 17, his brother was shot. He had taken up heavy drinking because of a hard life, the defense said. Portillo-Saravia's head hung low as he apologized for the crime.
"Mr. Portillo-Saravia, you knew a little girl, who I'm sure you watched, played with when she was almost still a baby," Smith replied. "And before she was finished growing up you took it from her...You've robbed her of the joy that should rightly be hers."