Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Diego A. Vanegas, 34 years old, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Glenn R. Croshaw to 110 years in prison on charges of Rape (Victim Under Age 13), two (2) counts of Forcible Sodomy (Victim Under Age 13), Attempted Forcible Sodomy (Victim Under Age 13), and two (2) counts of Producing Child Pornography (Victim Under Age 15, Offender 7+ Years Older). Upon pronouncing his sentence, Judge Croshaw described the crimes as “heinous, inhuman, indecent acts that can’t be tolerated,” and declined to suspend any of the prison term.
Vanegas pled guilty to the charges at two separate court proceedings on May 22 and June 19, 2012. Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proven that between Jan. 1, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2010, Diego Vanegas sexually assaulted a young child, known to him, multiple times per week. When the child cried out in pain, Vanegas covered the child’s mouth with his hand or a towel. Vanegas used his phone and a camera to take at least 70 pictures and 12 videos of the sex acts he forced upon the child. Another adult eventually discovered Vanegas alone and undressed in a room with the child, prompting NCIS and Virginia Beach police to investigate. During an interview with investigators, Vanegas confessed to sexually abusing the child since age 4. He claimed his attraction to the child increased when he began viewing child pornography.
Associate Commonwealth’s Attorney Kristin L. Paulding prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.