SANTA ANA (CNS) - A 59-year-old convicted sex offender was found guilty today of molesting two young cousins and the sister of one of the boys in and around a Fullerton church.
Carlos Antonio Chavez of Anaheim, who is scheduled to be sentenced April 5, was convicted of three felony counts of lewd acts with a child younger than 14.
After the conclusion of testimony, Orange County Superior Court Judge Gary Paer dismissed two counts of lewd acts with a child younger than 14 because two of the victims only remembered one case of molestation in testimony instead of alleged multiple acts as the defendant was charged with committing.
Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Reed told the jury that although many know the defendant as a ``church-going, God-fearing man,'' he ``has been living a double life for a very long time.''
Jurors heard testimony from the three victims, as well as a 21-year- old woman who Chavez was convicted of molesting in a McDonald's restroom in 2001 in Orange County, the prosecutor said.
A sister and brother, when they were 12 and 14 years old, told their father in 2014 that Chavez molested them at their church, Iglesia de Dios Pentacostal, Reed said. It came up in conversation when they said they had seen Chavez at the church recently and it angered them, she said.
The siblings alleged the molestations happened between 2004 and 2007.
The boy said when he was 5, Chavez offered him candy and chips one day at church, Reed said. The two went to a neighboring liquor store to get the snacks and when they arrived, he took the boy into the bathroom and sexually assaulted him, the prosecutor said.
As the boy was explaining what happened to his father, his sister said, ``You know what? He touched me too,'' Reed said.
During the police investigation, it came to light that Chavez had also molested their cousin, she said.
That victim was reluctant to cooperate with authorities but came around a few years later, Reed said. The boy alleged that Chavez took him when he was 5 years old into a bathroom at the church, under the guise of helping him get something off a high shelf, and then molested him, Reed said.
Defense attorney David Medina characterized the evidence in the case as ``implausible and unbelievable.''
The allegations are ``completely impossible'' because the defendant held no position in the church in which he would have access to children in isolated situations, Medina told the jury.
``You're not going to hear any specifics as to when these acts occurred,'' Medina said.
The defense attorney asked jurors to ``put aside'' his client's prior conviction to more fairly assess his guilt in the current case.