A Lynden man must serve four years behind bars for molesting a girl he knew, a Whatcom County Superior Court judge ruled Monday, Oct. 10.
Charging papers say the girl, who was under 10 years old, told her mother in November 2015, that Joel Lopez Pineda, 37, had touched his private parts to hers, and to her mouth. Pineda claimed the girl initiated the sexual contact while he took a shower, according to the charges.
Pineda was charged Nov. 5, 2015, with first-degree rape of a child and first-degree child molestation. He pleaded guilty in late July to two counts of second-degree child molestation and one count of second-degree assault.
He told an investigator with the Department of Corrections that he only took the plea deal so the girl would not have to go through a trial, according to court records.
The standard sentence for the crimes is three to four years for someone with Pineda’s record. All of his prior convictions were misdemeanors: reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, domestic violence assault, disorderly conduct, harassment, and violating a restraining order.
Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder sentenced him to four years in prison, followed by three years probation. Pineda will have to register as a sex offender.