Two Correctional Officers in Tulare County California, who were previously youth pastors were arrested in November after being charged with multiple counts of child molestation tied following a month of police investigating the claims against the two men.
Fox 26 reports:
The investigation began when an adult, who was 8 or 9 at the time, walked into the lobby of the Tulare Police Department and reported that they had been molested several times by a youth pastor at the Valley Bible Church in Visalia.
Officers say that the crimes happened in the mid to late 1990’s.
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Detectives then started investigating the claims and found that there were several other victims of the suspect, identified at 48-year-old Steven Arey.
Arey currently works as a correctional officer with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Another man that had worked at that same church was also accused of similar crimes and reportedly worked with Arey.
That second man has been identified as 56-year-old Kevin Sandoval, who is a retired CDCR corrections sergeant.
The two men were later arraigned.
ABC 30 reports:
Arey was arraigned at the Tulare County Pre-Trial Facility on Tuesday, where a judge ordered his bail be set at $250,000.
He’s accused of molesting three children, all under the age of 14, between 1997 and 2002.
Arey has been charged with 15 felony counts of lewd acts on a child involving three victims between 1997 and 2002.
56-year-old Kevin Sandoval is charged with five counts of lewd acts on a child involving one victim between 1993 and 1995.
Sandoval, who Tulare Police describe as an associate of Arey’s, also worked at CDCR from 1993 until 2013, when he retired as a correctional sergeant at Folsom State Prison.
Both men worked at North Kern State Prison in Delano early in their corrections careers, and police say they lived in Tulare at the time of their crimes.
“The two concerns I have are the victims themselves-any future harm they could be caused because of the nature of the charges,” said Tulare County Judge Ricky Tripp. “And I think in this case since there are three alleged victims-that’s significant on the court. Then, based on the amount of time you could be facing if convicted, (there are also) concerns whether you would come back to court if I were to release you.”
Jack Burns wrote, “According to the Department of Justice, pedophiles and child molesters victimize on average 260 children during their lifetimes. Over 90% of convicted pedophiles are arrested again for the same offense after their release from prison.”
He then added, “As we have previously reported, pedophiles often gravitate toward positions of employment where they earn instant trust and command authority over kids. In the aforementioned instance, the individuals in question were playing the roles of two on our list: cops and pastors.”
Tulare Police believe there may be more victims. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Matt Muller at 559-685-2300 x 2157.
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