Father who abducted children, sailed away on yacht sentenced 

A man who kidnapped his two young children from a South San Francisco home last year and sailed away with them on a stolen yacht was sentenced Friday and ordered to have no contact with his victims, prosecutors said.

Christopher Joseph Maffei was sentenced today to three years in custody, to be served in San Mateo County Jail, and 16 months supervision upon release, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

He was also ordered to pay $5,851 total restitution to his victims and to stay away from all of them until he had served his sentence, including his children, Wagstaffe said.

Maffei, 43, had previously pleaded no contest in April to felony child abduction and felony possession of a stolen boat.

Maffei was arrested Sept. 7 last year after a four-day pursuit by authorities when the stolen yacht he was in ran out of gas off of the Monterey Peninsula, according to the district attorney's office.

His children, a boy and girl ages 2 and 3, were found on board and recovered safely.

Maffei allegedly abducted the children at about 3 p.m. on Sept. 4 from the home of their grandmother, who lives in the 100 block of James Court in South San Francisco.

He then drove in a rental car to Alameda where he sailed away with them, police said. Authorities at the time speculated he might be trying to reach Mexico.

The yacht, "Unleashed," was spotted about 50 miles off of the coast from Pillar Point Harbor in San Mateo County early Friday by the operator of a commercial fishing ship who notified the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard officials sent crews by air and by sea to find the yacht and eventually found Maffei and the two children on board the vessel.

Court records show that Maffei's wife had obtained a temporary restraining order against him shortly before the alleged kidnapping.

Maffei told the court at his sentencing Friday that while he believed he was acting in the interests of his children at the time of the abduction, in hindsight he had realized his actions were inexcusable, Wagstaffe said.

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