A convicted rapist will stay behind bars for at least three more years. The community and it’s leaders are calling it a major victory for Fresno.

Rudolph Acosta was charged with raping eight women in the tower district in the early 1990’s. He was sentenced to 78 years in prison but was up for an early release. His parole was denied Tuesday.

“It is an absolute major victory for the city of Fresno and for victim’s rights and it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for this one courageous victim,” Miguel Arias a councilmember said.

He was referring to Mirna Garcia. She was just 16 when Acosta raped her.

“I wanted him to see the impact of his choice. How it impacted my entire life,” Garcia said.

But 53-year-old Acosta was not present. He said his lawyer advised against it. A prison spokesperson said he was remorseful.

“He appeared to be emotional about the things that he’s cause to the family’s and public,” Michael Tuntakit the Avenal State Prison public information officer said.

Acosta provided a statement to the media saying in part:

“I made them feel fear inside their own homes…Today’s parole hearing is not about me. It’s about the people who I caused pain and suffering…I’m very, very sorry.”

“It makes me feel like he’s a coward for not even showing up to acknowledge what he did. He took the easy way out,” Garcia said.

Still, she shared her story along with others with the parole board.

The entire city council also wrote the parole board and Governor Gavin Newsom, asking Acosta not be set free.

“He is a serial rapist that is a grown adult raped a 16-year-old girl, and those individuals don’t belong in our neighborhoods. They don’t belong in our city and they don’t belong in any part of our society,” Arias said.

For now Acosta will be staying put. Garcia said she had mixed emotions, and was disappointed she couldn’t face her attacker.

“I know that we won. It just doesn’t feel… It hasn’t sunk in,” she said.

Acosta is up for parole again in three years. Garcia said she’ll be at every single parole hearing making sure he stays behind bars.