Man gets 10 years for gang initiation

A 22-year-old Manassas man was sentenced Thursday for his role in the sexual initiation of a 17-year-old Manassas girl in the MS-13 gang.

Reyes Antonio Avila-Villalta, of 8710 Barnett Street, was charged with recruiting a juvenile into a criminal gang and participating in a criminal gang.

The victim met several MS-13 gang members at an apartment in Coverstone, where she was invited to attend a party in August 2002. While there, the girl described problems she was having at home, and told the gang she might have to move out. They offered to let her live with them if she joined MS-13. MS-13 stands for mara salvatrucha, a gang from El Salvador.

The girl was told there were two ways she could enter the gang: be beaten by each member for 13 seconds, or have sex with six of them for five minutes each. She agreed to be “sexed in.” But after returning home the next morning, she called police.

Avila-Villalta was sentenced to five years in prison on each charge with 49 months suspended, dependent upon three years’ probation. The sentence was in accordance with a recommendation by the Commonwealth.

Avila-Villalta asked that the sentences be run concurrently with time he is presently serving for a robbery conviction, saying he had two children to support. Judge William D. Hamblen ruled the sentences would run consecutively.

The defendant appeared in court Thursday wearing a blue and white checkered shirt similar to one he wore when entering his guilty plea. At that March 2003 court hearing, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne T. Richardson pointed out that Avila-Villalta was “wearing the colors of MS-13, blue and white.”

“I would like to say I’m very sorry for what happened and I greatly regretted it,” Avila-Villalta said through an interpreter.