Rapist to serve 45 years to life | NevadaAppeal.com

Rapist to serve 45 years to life

by F.T. Norton

Saying a Dayton man led a seemingly normal life and so his violent rape of a Carson City teenager was an “enigma,” a Reno judge sentenced Michael Botelho to 45 years to life in prison.

“In listening to your family and in looking at your background, you present an enigma. Basically you’re not a bad person, but you did a very bad thing,” Judge Jerome Polaha told the former U.S. Marine before sentencing Wednesday. “Society has to protect its children. Some acts are just so uncivilized that the people who commit those acts forfeit their place in society.”

Botelho will be at least 87 years old before he could parole from prison for the Aug. 7, 2003, kidnapping and rape of the 14-year-old girl he contacted through a baby-sitting ad. He pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and kidnapping Dec. 22.

According to court records, Botelho picked the girl up from her Carson City home and drove her to a secluded area of Washoe Lake, where he sexually assaulted and battered her for nearly an hour before returning her to her neighborhood.

He was apprehended in Susanville, Calif., in a motel room with his wife and young children after eluding police for several weeks.

“What this animal, himself a parent, did to my precious daughter is beyond comprehension,” the victim’s mother said in court, glancing briefly at Botelho as he sat hunched in shackles at the defense table. “His fantasies turned our world, horribly, tragically, upside down. Our greatest hope is that he will receive the maximum sentences for each charge and that every day for the rest of his miserable life, he is reminded of the pain he’s caused.”

She said Botelho contacted her daughter two weeks prior to the assault, claiming he was divorced and needed someone to watch his children while they were in town for a visit.

The attack was so brutal, the victim testified Wednesday morning, doctors aren’t sure she will be able to have children.

Now 15, the diminutive freshman told Polaha her life has changed forever.

“I can’t even stay alone in my own house. I lock every single lock on every single door and I’m still afraid,” she said.

An investigator was allowed to testify to “deviant sexual fantasies” Botelho may have shared with a former wife to whom he was married in the 1990s.

“She contacted me by phone and stated she was not surprised that this happened,” said Washoe County Sheriff’s detective Doug Herrera. “She said it was Michael’s key fantasy to kidnap a young girl 12 to 13, find someplace to keep her, and have his way with her.”

Polaha said he was reluctant to give Botelho the maximum sentence of 65 years to life because of the message that sends future offenders.

“The only saving factor that I see in this case was the fact that she was returned alive. What stops the next guy from killing the victim?” if Botelho’s sentence is the harshest available, the judge asked rhetorically. “(The new offender) will say, ‘I’ve already crossed the line, and once crossed there’s no going back.”

Contact F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.