Christian Flores, 37, told a judge Thursday that taking responsibility for his actions so many years later has been a "spiritual experience" and is necessary to move forward with his life.
"There's only one way through this and that's to hold myself accountable for this," Flores said.
Flores made a surprise confession in September while he was in jail on an unrelated warrant. He detailed numerous occasions in the late 1990s when he assaulted his former girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter. He reported sexually abusing the girl. He also broke the toddler's collarbone.
The detective asked Flores why he was confessing. His response made little sense.
"I think that I'm such a (expletive) piece of (expletive) that no matter how much evidence they gather I can probably get off on that crime," Flores said. "So, I want to make sure (the victim) gets justice."
Last month, he pleaded guilty to first-degree child molestation.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis on Thursday sentenced the defendant to six years in prison. That's 10 months shy of the maximum allowed under state sentencing guidelines.
Ellis gave Flores some credit for bringing the crime to the attention of police. He likely wouldn't have faced criminal prosecution if he hadn't initiated the confession, Ellis said.
The judge also called what Flores did "monstrous."
Since his confession, the victim, now 18, has been forced to relive the abuse.
The criminal investigation has "stirred difficult and painful memories for her," Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Jarett Goodkin told the judge.
The woman didn't attend Thursday's court hearing.
She told detectives that she remembered Flores hurting her. She recalled Flores throwing her against a wall. She also had memories of Flores inappropriately touching her when she was a child between the ages of two and three. She remembered feeling uncomfortable and fearful. She also recalled being in pain.
The girl's mother told police that Flores, who was her live-in boyfriend, baby-sat her daughter while she was attending college in the late 1990s. She remembered the girl being hospitalized for a broken collarbone and pneumonia.
She said Flores was baby-sitting the girl when the child was injured. He never explained the broken bone, and she was too afraid to ask. The woman told investigators that Flores repeatedly beat her. She said she believed that she was the only person he was abusing. She described him as extremely violent and told detectives that during one "bender," Flores killed the couple's pets, including a lizard, kittens and a rabbit.
Once he's released from prison, Flores must register as a sex offender. He is prohibited from having any contact with minors.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to call
For more information about the signs of child abuse or how to report it, contact Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center at 425-388-7497 or go to www.dawsonplace.org.
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