Santa Rosa, CA – September 21, 2021 – Defendant Larry Thomas Rhoades, 69 years old of Santa Rosa, was sentenced earlier today by the Honorable Peter Ottenweller to serve a prison term of 12 years plus an additional indeterminate sentence of 15 years to life, after pleading “no contest” in June to 25 felony counts of child sexual assault.
The offenses came to light in August of 2020 when the 12-year-old victim reported that Rhoades, a family member, had been sexually assaulting the child on an ongoing basis. Following an investigation by the Santa Rosa Police Department, Rhoades was arrested and taken into custody. Prior to trial Rhoades admitted to charges of committing continuous sexual abuse of the victim which began when the victim was four years old. Rhoades was also convicted of forcible rape of a child under the age of 14, as well as 23 additional charges involving oral copulation and sexual penetration of a child under the age of 11. In a victim impact statement read at sentencing, the victim’s mother described Rhoades as a “predator of the highest degree.”
Regardless of the “life” sentence, recent California legislation now allows “elderly” prison inmates to be considered for parole after serving only 20 years of their sentence. Penal Code section 3055 originally went into effect in 2018, and with few exceptions allowed for inmates who reached 60 years of age and served 25 years of their sentence to be considered for release back into the community on parole. This “elderly parole” provision was amended in 2020 by the California Legislature to now allow almost all inmates who have reached the age of 50 and served only 20 years of their sentence – regardless of how long the sentence is - to be considered for parole. These early parole provisions apply to offenders like Rhoades. The victim’s mother also addressed the prospective parole board during today’s sentencing: “If [Rhoades] lives long enough to see a parole board, not only would you be doing my [child] an injustice by allowing this man to ever be free, you would be putting other children in danger from this horrible man.”
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Andrew Lukas. Detective Tim Raymond of the Santa Rosa Police Department headed the investigation.