CALIFORNIA — A Van Nuys man pleaded no contest today to sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl who was lost at a mall.
Jorge Enrique Lopez Maza, 27, entered the plea to one count of lewd act upon a child and admitted the allegation that the defendant kidnapped the victim.
Maza was immediately sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
On April 21, 2016, the young victim was at the Panorama Mall with her grandmother when she became separated from her, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing. Lopez Maza approached the girl and convinced her to go with him to find her grandmother.
The defendant then led the victim outside the mall to an isolated area within the parking lot and sexually assaulted the victim, the prosecutor said. The little girl was able to run away. A good Samaritan heard the victim scream and chased Lopez Maza several blocks to a local market where the defendant was ultimately apprehended by law enforcement, the prosecutor added.