Monday, January 22, 2024
Steven Robert Sablan, A Texas man, has pleaded guilty to a federal kidnapping charge as part of a plea agreement after he abducted and sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl in San Antonio.
Sablan, 62, sexually assaulted the girl he abducted at gunpoint multiple times while driving her to Long Beach in Southern California last year, as stated in the plea agreement.
“At the time of the crime, Sablan had no legal custody or familial relationship to the victim,” the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a news release.
During the kidnapping in July, Sablan threatened the child, saying, "If you don't get in the car with me, I am going to hurt you," according to court documents.
The child was rescued on July 9, 2023, after Sablan went into a laundromat in Long Beach, California, and the girl held up a "Help Me!" sign from inside Sablan’s parked vehicle, CNN reported.
A good Samaritan reported the kidnapping to the authorities after spotting the sign, and Long Beach police officers said at the time the girl was "visibly emotional and distressed" when they arrived.
According to a news release, the US Attorney’s office said that Sablan faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
He will also be required to register as a sex offender when released from prison, the plea agreement says.
Sablan is scheduled to be sentenced on October 25.