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Janitor sexually abuses 10 middle school girls, offering candy to earn their trust

A janitor was sentenced Tuesday to 14 years in prison for molesting 10 girls at a California middle school he previously worked at.

Per The Los Angeles Times, ex-janitor Michael Anthony Barry, 60, pleaded no contest last month to five felony counts of a lewd act upon a child, five misdemeanor counts of child molesting, and one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Most of the incidents occurred at Torch Middle School between August 2016 to May 2017 but one student was molested from August 2014 to June 2015.

“[Barry] “would befriend the victims and be very nice to the victims, and he would do things like offer them candy and just be very kind to them, and he gained their trust as a result,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Todd Deeds said last year, according to the newspaper.

KTLA reported that Barry was employed by the middle school for 16 years before his arrest on July 6, 2017. He turned himself shortly after a student came forward in May 2017 and accused him of sexual assault, the news station reported.

Prosecutors said the assaults transpired during school hours and on campus. The victims ranged in age from 10 to 12.

Bassett Unified School District’s superintendent, Debra French, previously said school officials contacted police immediately after learning of allegations that Barry made physical advances toward students. Reports indicated that Barry had no prior criminal record.

 

[Featured image: Michael Anthony Barry/Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department]