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Stockton Businessman Pleads No Contest to Statutory Rape of Child, Sentenced to Just 90 Days of House Arrest

STOCKTON -- A longtime Stockton businessman was sentenced Wednesday to just 90 days of house arrest and five years of informal probation after pleading no contest to statutory rape of a child.

The man, 79-year-old Lyle Burgess, does not have to register as a sex offender.

The girl was just 5 years old at the time.

"A 5-6-year-old little girl was molested. Normally the sentence is state prison and then when you're released, you have to register as a sex offender," family attorney Ken Meleyco said. "Future victims are not protected."

FOX40 also went to Burgess' home in an upscale gated community in Stockton. The person who answered the door had no comment.

"He's obviously very wealthy and it's just an example of how the wealthy people, time and time again, escape the penalty for what they did," Meleyco said.

Burgess founded Rare Parts Inc., an automotive parts manufacturer and distributor. He was a friend of the girl's family.

"They trusted this man, he was a family friend, and he took advantage of them," Meleyco said.

Meleyco says the sex assault happened after the family was invited over to Burgess' Calaveras County cabin back in 2016.

"The girl is not doing good," Meleyco said of the girl, who is now 7. "She's showing all the symptoms of somebody who's been molested. She's in counseling, and she's gonna be in counseling all her life."

The girl and her family has filed a civil suit against Burgess.

DA Responds

According to the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office, Burgess' sentence was initiated by the county court because of his age and health.

When Burgess was arrested in 2016, he was originally booked on four counts of lewd acts upon a child. The charge was later changed to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, though the DA says there were no allegations the girl was "sexually penetrated."

Prosecutors say the plea deal was agreed upon by both Burgess and the girl's family.