Jose Vargas

Lakeland man sentenced to life for sexually assaulting 12-year-old girl

Jose Vargas

Jose Vargas

A 39-year-old Lakeland man who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl in 2016 was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.

Before the sentence, Jose Vargas, standing in an orange jumpsuit, and his lawyer, asked Circuit Judge Neil Roddenbery for leniency. Assistant State Attorney Courtney Durden countered that Florida statute required a sentence of life.

Roddenbery listened to both sides then ordered Vargas to serve life in prison.

In October, jurors took 80 minutes to find Vargas guilty.

The case broke in September, 2016 when the victim told her teacher about repeated sexual assaults. The teacher then notified the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

State Attorney Brian Haas thanks ASA Durden and Polk County Sheriff’s detectives for their work on the case.

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