Daniel Joseph Sanetz’s serious face never changed as the guilty verdict for touching a young girl was called out.
The former UF employee hugged his children and sobbing wife before being escorted out of Courtroom 3B on Tuesday.
Judge William E. Davis at the Eighth District Circuit Courthouse sentenced Santez, 47, of Gainesville, to 18 months in prison for inappropriately touching a 14-year-old girl in December 2017.
Sanetz was the associate director of human resources for UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine for 21 years. He was arrested on April 6, 2018. He was fired on April 18, 2018, said UF spokesperson Steve Orlando.
The judge found him guilty of aggravated child abuse and aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony.
Both families of the man and of the girl sobbed quietly as he was being sentenced.
He will also have to serve two years of house arrest and 10 years of probation with counseling for sexual deviance, alcohol and drugs.
“Everyone who has been through this deserves justice, and this is mine,” said the girl, who was touched, at the hearing.
He pleaded no contest, which means he accepted the sentencing but did not admit guilt.
On Feb. 1, 2018, the girl, who is now 15, told a child protection team that she and Sanetz and were laying in a tent in 2017 when he rubbed her hip and rested his hand on her knee. He then left the tent and returned about 15 or 30 minutes later and touched her hip again and rubbed the small of her back.
Sanetz then slipped his hands into her pants and put his hand into her underwear. The girl turned away and forced his hands out of her pants.
“I can confidently say that this has been the worst chapter of my life to date,” the girl said at the hearing.
Eleven days will be taken off his sentence because he spent time in jail, said Jeanne Singer, chief assistant state attorney. If Sanetz violates his probation, he can face up to 30 years in prison.
Attorney Michael J. Barbarette, who represented Sanetz, and Sanetz’s family declined to comment.
During the hearing, family and friends from both Sanetz’s family and the girl’s family spoke about their relationship with Sanetz. The girl’s family had known Sanetz for years.
“You took my daughter’s innocence,” said the girl’s mother during the hearing. “No amount of therapy will ever change the fact that her first sexual experience was with a 46-year-old man.”
After Sanetz was sentenced, the families shuffled out of the courtroom with dried tears on their faces.
“Danny is like her second dad,” the girl’s grandmother said about Sanetz. “It’s been a tough year. It’s just been so hard.”