Salt Lake City man sent to prison for sex with 12-year-old girl

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A Utah man convicted of having sex with a 12-year-old girl has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

A jury in September convicted Robert Damian Thornton, 38, of rape of a child, sodomy on a child, aggravated child sexual abuse and witness tampering. Thornton was sentenced earlier this month by 3rd District Judge Katherine Bernards-Goodman.

On Dec. 31, 2010, police went to the child's mother's Salt Lake City home and discovered the abuse, according to charges. The mother, who had an outstanding warrant, was handcuffed but managed to escape.

The child later told detectives her mother had given her Valium and Klonopin, and that for the "past few months" she'd been forced to have sex with Thornton. The man allegedly told the girl he would kill her if she told anyone.

The mother is currently serving a prison sentence of up to five years for child endangerment.