A California man convicted of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl was recently sentenced to 28 years in prison.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Gualberto Torres-Vargas, 40, pleaded guilty to continuous sexual abuse, sodomy by force of a child under 14 years old, performing a lewd act on a child under 14, and forcible rape. Torres-Vargas was arrested on November 19, 2015; Prosecutors accused him of molesting the girl between November 1, 2014, and November 9, 2015.
Authorities got involved after the 9-year-old told her mother of the abuse and she called Huntington Beach police. Initially, the Orange County District Attorney accused Torres-Vargas of sexually assaulting two girls who were younger than 10. They alleged Torres-Vargas “molesting and orally copulating” a second victim—a 5-year-old—at the same time he was abusing the first girl.
Though Torres-Vargas worked weekends as a clown, prosecutors said he didn’t meet his victims through his side job. Huntington Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Marlatt told KCBS that he wasn’t related to the victims but did live near them.
KNBC reported that Torres-Vargas worked as a clown for years. One of the victims’ mothers reportedly saw him get picked up by his employer while wearing a clown suit; police also discovered a clown suit during a search of his home.
Prosecutor Roxi Fyad said, “We know that he’s had contact with children and we are hoping that if there are any possible additional victims we’d like to know, we’d like to have them come forward.”
[Featured Image: Gualberto Torres-Vargas/Orange County district attorney’s office]