Woman Sobs Out Apology In Child Molestation Case

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Woman sobs out apology in child molestation case
Marc Martin / Los Angeles Ti

Sheila Marie Sikat gets emotional while addressing the court during her sentencing hearing, which was continued until March 6, 2008.


By Christine Hanley, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 23, 2008

With tears streaming down her cheeks, Sheila Marie Sikat turned to search the sea of faces in a crowded Santa Ana courtroom Friday.

"I'm sorry," she whispered to a sister, locking eyes as they both wept.

Sikat's soft-spoken apology set the tone for a highly emotional hearing to determine how much time she should spend in prison for repeatedly molesting a 4-year-old niece with her husband in a case that unfolded after a trunk full of homemade child porn movies were discovered in the couple's home.

In an unexpected twist, Sikat's sister was among several family members who asked the judge to show mercy, while jurors from Sikat's trial -- at the request of prosecutors -- agreed to give the little girl a voice because no one else would.

"I still see it at night when I go to bed," said Randy Styner, recalling one moment in a four-hour videotape that shows the girl waking up after being attacked by Sikat's husband. "I saw her get up and start to scream. . . . I saw someone so alone. . . . Sheila had the opportunity to defend that child. She didn't."

At the end of the hearing, Sikat agreed, taking responsibility for her role and saying she deserved to pay the consequences.

LINK: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-sikat23feb23,1,2290629.story