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Kern County jury convicts man on five counts of child sexual molestation

Gavel with Scales of Justice (FILE)
Posted at 1:14 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 16:14:01-05

KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KERO) — A Kern County jury convicts man Thursday on five counts of child sexual molestation against three victims, the Kern County District Attorney's Office announced.

The jury found Joel Santiz guilty of five counts of child sexual molestation against three victims including sexual penetration with a child ten years old or younger, lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of fourteen, sexual penetration with a person under age fourteen, and continuous sexual abuse.

According to court documents, starting in 2013 Santiz sexually molested a girl who was 9 years old at the time of the incident.

Between 2019 and 2020, he sexually molested two other girls: one who was between 10 and 11 years old and another who was between the ages of 10 and 12, according to court documents. The molestations were discovered in 2020 when one of the victims reported the abuse, the DA's Office said.

Santiz faces a sentence of up to 60 years to life and lifetime sex offender registration.

"When sexual predators target and victimize children, public safety and every sense of justice demand severe penalties. This conviction is a reminder of how important it is that prosecutors amplify the voices of victims to bring justice for the case and protect the community by ensuring Santiz is never allowed to prey on children again,” said District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer.