For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has announced that a Reno man has been sentenced to life in prison for victimizing a 12 year old Reno girl over the course of three years. The defendant previously pled guilty to lewdness charges involving a child under age 14 after an investigation by the Reno Police Department (RPD) Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit linked him to the crime. The sentence ensures that the defendant will serve a minimum of 20 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections before parole eligibility begins.
Luis Velasco-Canales, 22, from Reno pled guilty in May to two counts of Lewdness with a Child Under Age 14 and was sentenced last week to two life sentences in Washoe County District Court. The charges against Velasco-Canales were the result of a December, 2015 investigation into a report of sexual abuse of a 12 year old girl. During the investigation, RPD Detectives were able to establish that the victim had been sexually abused by a male relative identified as Velasco-Canales and that the abuse had taken place over the course of three years. When the victim disclosed the abuse to another relative, that relative contacted RPD and a Washoe County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) case was initiated.
At sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hicks argued that the effect this abuse has on a child and the child’s family is catastrophic. The only way to ensure justice has been served is to deliver a maximum sentence. In delivering the sentence, Judge Barry Breslow noted the sentence was necessary to remove Velasco-Canales from society, as he could not be trusted around young people.
The mission of the Washoe County Child Advocacy Center is to ensure the health and safety of the child in a child-friendly environment for the purpose of minimizing trauma, providing advocacy, and supporting effective investigations and prosecutions. Since opening in 2014, over 1000 forensic interviews of children victims have taken place at the CAC and successful prosecutions of these difficult cases have increased dramatically.